A question that I ask myself, and ask churches both in the U.S. and here in Mexico, is: When was the last time a family, or a part of a family, has been saved in this church, and discipled, and has begun to show spiritual fruit?
Some follow-up questions are: What sort of excitement did it bring to the congregation? What sort of life-style issues did this family have, and how was their change process? What challenges did these life-style issues create in the “good, Christian people” in the church?
I’m not asking about church-hopping families, or Christian prodigals returning (although those individuals can be interesting, and often in less-than-positive ways). I’m referring to good old fashion pagans, or good old fashioned religious people, who suddenly, supernaturally, find Jesus, or more accurately, Jesus finds them.
It is a mammoth undertaking to see this happen. It is a monumental process. It takes intentionality. It requires resources. It won’t happen without faith. It needs the vision of a family, or a leadership team, or a young person, or a pastor. And it’s worth all the effort, all the inconvenience, all the faithfulness we can muster.
Because what is the option? What if this doesn’t happen? Is the local church supposed to self-perpetuate itself by young couples having babies? By doing a better worship gig than the church down the road? By ambient music and great nursery care? Hmm…not a church I want to be a part of.
The best way to energize a church body is to see people being redeemed out of their vain manner of life, being adopted by the Lord, and transformed into his image. It is messy, uncomfortable and costly. It is also glorious. Suddenly worship styles and the latest remodeling project doesn’t matter so much. When a congregation tastes the power and love of God, it is addictive, in the best possible sense.