Revitalizing the Church
November 10, 2011
I have been very impressed with the new President of Asbury Seminary, Dr. Timothy Tennent. He has only been on the job for a year and a half, but is already making a great impression on the communities of students, alums, churches, and denominations the seminary serves. Recently he was asked to point to the reasons behind the decline of so many churches in the West. He points to one reason–the lack of biblical preaching.
“In our discussions about the Church, it is easy to focus on the “wineskins”, i.e. the outer, technical problems–building new facilities, having multiple services, child care, youth programs, budgetary problems, etc. There is a place for all these discussions, but it is actually not the “wineskins” but the absence of the “wine” which is the chief source of our malaise. Some of the most vibrant churches I have seen in my life meet under the shade of a tree or under a simple thatched roof in north India. I have also seen churches with impressive buildings, a large staff, excellent “branding” and dozens of programs, but lacking in spiritual vitality and genuine missional engagement with the world.”
Reading this today has encouraged me a great deal. At Light and Life Goleta, we do not have an abundance of programs, a large staff, or even a building to call our own, but we have Jesus! This last Sunday we were all so aware of the Presence of God in worship. This week we launched into a deep Bible study of a complex issue in the Old Testament called “Does God Sanction Violence?” (and we are finding all our answers in the Scriptures). We had an incredible summer Bible study series in Ephesians and are launching a major evangelistic outreach into Isla Vista in a few short months. God is doing great things among us!
Dr. Tennent adds these words:
“once people come into our fellowship they should be profoundly moved by how deep our faith is, how seriously we take Christian discipleship and how much we long to be equipped to serve Christ in transformative ways in the world…The world WILL be transformed by the Lordship of Jesus Christ, the sanctifying empowerment of the Holy Spirit and the faithful application of God’s Holy Word.”