As leaders, we are responsible for the well-being of our church. It is our job to feed the members with good messages, reviving their faith and enabling them to fulfill the mission of the church. We are also responsible for providing spiritual support through visitation and Christian friendship. But some churches may need a spiritual revival.
A genuine spiritual revival will surely lead the church to true reform. This is accomplished through spiritual and biblical sermons and with a strategy that encourages the entire church leadership to reach that goal. Of course, poor, aggressive sermons and legalistic, radical attitudes are unlikely to accomplish much. The Bible says, “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty” (Zech. 4:6, NIV).
I would like to share with you an adaptation of Charles G. Finney’s list of characteristics or symptoms that determine whether or not a church needs a revival. For him, a spiritual revival is needed when the following elements are present:
• Lack of love: When there is lack of fraternal love and Christian trust among those who profess to be religious.
• Discord and division: When there is contention, jealousy, and slander among those who profess to be Christians.
• Worldliness: When worldly influences and their philosophies permeate church programs and members’ habits.
• Sin in the church: When the congregation notices that its members are falling into sin and bringing dishonor to the church.
• Controversy and disharmony: When the spirit of quarreling and argument corrodes church unity.
• Evil controls society: When evil triumphs over the church, producing moral and spiritual damage.
• Spiritual lethargy: When church members are not involved in missionary programs or activities.
Being aware of these factors and looking at some of our churches, I believe that spiritual revival is an urgent matter. It is the only way these churches will return to the basis of the Adventist faith and re-establish a commitment without reservation to the cause of God.
I believe, however, that such revival should begin as a personal experience of its leaders. Then the reviving influence will surely reach the church members. A spiritual revival never begins with the “church” but always with its “spiritual leader.”
We need to better administer our time and establish the church’s priorities. The faith of our members will be revitalized, and we will see that living a genuine Christian life will be a priority, both to us personally and to our congregations.
General Conference Associate Ministerial Secretary