During the last 4 weeks I ran a survey. I asked the question "What does the church need the most?"
It is interesting what folks think the church needs, don't you agree? It would be intriguing to see, of those that answered, which ones are attending church on a regular basis. There are a lot of armchair theologians that think they know the game, but have no training or experience. Amen?
I am going to weigh in and say that church needs a lot of things. With years of thought, I believe that we need a fresh revelation, not a new theology. Jesus doesn't change, but how we do, and perceive church, must change. We need a vision that comes from the depths of God's heart, not some program that we can wrap our favorite verse around. Interestingly no one thought that we needed prayer or some sort of trial such as 9/11 to get people thinking about getting back to church.
Of course the big ones are love and relationship. They will know we are Christians by our love. . . but we are to speak that truth in love, and that's the crux of the problem. In order for us to speak truth, we must some how live it, not just "understand" it. More on that in a bit.
I would venture to say that we have spent so much time getting stuff, IE: "The American Dream" that we have lost sight of things that build character within the church. Trial has it's place in God's Kingdom -- do a search on it some time.
Our lives are to be building blocks for the spiritual deposit to manifest fruit in our lives. The word fruit is synonymous in the Bible for "acting like Jesus at a time prescribed by Jesus." To often we do what Jesus would do, but not when Jesus would have done it. The "logos" and "rhema" word have to become one. Unless we know what Jesus would do, and when, we can't really love another like Jesus would.
Back to the survey results. 41% of the respondents said we need love, and presumably they feel that we don't have it. The question becomes this: "What must we do to learn to love -- knowing what Biblical love is ? (1 Corinthians 13 A Blog)
We need to see our faith in a couple of ways before we can begin the journey of being able to love in a scriptural sense. Faith is designed to kill the old man and release the new one - not just fix up the old one. Faith ignites the process of sanctification. Faith in Jesus is salvation - accepting the completed work-- yet we are saved, we are being saved, and we will be saved. It is a process that begins at the moment of faith-- yet to become a disciple of Christ means entering into the process of dying to self. In the words of Peter, here's how it works.
2 Peter 1:5-8
Fruitful Growth in the Faith
5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Behave Like a Christian
9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.