Turnaround Churches – Step 2 – Spiritual Renewal

Worship After a rehumbling take place (step 1), revival begins with worship, preaching (Bible-based), and prayer. Everything flows from there.

Many churches make the mistake of thinking that the revival
comes through “getting of their duffs” and doing more or “getting out into the
community.” In reality, most church calendars are too full already. Doing less
might actually help Christians become
more…and the more Christians become
like Christ, the more they are capable of acting like Christ as God’s power
pours forth from their lives. Asking people who are spiritually dried up or
dead to give more, be more evangelistic, serve the community or get more
involved is futile. Church renewal
begins with spiritual renewal.
This precedes missional renewal. They can
rise together, but mission cannot be discovered or instituted before spiritual
renewal.

Worship. Preaching. Prayer. It’s important that these things
are priorities, and given the best of
the church’s energy and resources. All churches are, at some level, already
worship, preach and pray. But, they often engage in these life-giving practices
in a way that leaves one wondering if the church believes God really exists. In
many declining environments, Worship is a haphazard and half-hearted affair,
preaching is relatively passionless and underprepared, and prayer is somewhat rote and
almost exclusively intercessory.

If worship is God-focused and awe-inspiring in it’s witness
to His greatness and love; if preaching is a passionate, Spirit-imbued, Word-based
declaration of God’s reign; if prayer is faith-filled and oriented primarily
toward God and His Kingdom, the church will pulsate with God’s presence. The
rest will begin to fall into place.

All of the good things we’d like to see the church do are
part and parcel of the worshipful life. When considering what the church should
do, God is both the means and the end, not simply the means to an end. The
spiritual practices of worship, preaching and prayer center us. They place us
in God’s presence in unique ways. From there, C.S. Lewis was right to say, “We only
learn to behave ourselves in the presence of God.” All of the tasks of ministry
will come from the overflow. And, when they do, they will happen faster,
stronger, and more abundantly than they would have if attempted before seeking
God’s face.

Strong, vibrant churches find that worship, preaching, and
prayer don’t just get the ball rolling—they sustain the church long-term. Why? Because
the things that need doing in the world take power that we do not possess apart
from the risen Lord living us among us in power.

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Share Your Thoughts

2 thoughts on “Turnaround Churches – Step 2 – Spiritual Renewal

  1. Robin, It’s obviously a wonderful thing to intercede for a Sister or Brother. But, when prayer is only offered for that purpose–or if formulaic prayers devoid of formulaic meaning are repeated week after week…something could be wrong.
    In terms of spiritual renewal – I would recommend people read Richard Foster’s book on prayer (and many others), but even better–a biblical study of prayer…and some nights of prayer with a “no intercession” rule for at least one of those nights 🙂
    One thing I’ve tried is to allow a few minutes for silent prayer at the end of the message asking people to reflect and offer prayers in the thought-stream of the message.
    It’s a big topic, and I have a lot of growing to do in this area as well.

  2. Just curious: what do you mean by saying that the declining church’s prayer is “rote and almost entirely intercessory” when it should be “faith-filed and oriented primarily toward God and His Kingdom”? In terms of the specific content of our prayers, what do you think we should be doing differently to attain spiritual renewal?