The third principle discovered in growing churches is PASSIONATE SPIRITUALITY. A major difference between growing and non-growing churches was found by questions like these, “Are the Christians in this church on fire for God?” “Are they living lives committed to Christ and practicing their faith with joy?” The members of high quality growing churches were twice as enthusiastic about their churches as those of low quality declining churches.
Nothing kills a church quicker than a legalistic attitude. Legalism is the strict observance of rules believing keeping the rules will make you a better Christian. Colossians 2:23 Churches which tend toward legalism are usually below average in passionate spirituality. Growing churches have growing people and growing people are enthusiastic. This enthusiasm is evident in their prayer life. Christians in growing churches say their times of prayer are inspiring. Prayer life in declining churches is endured rather than enjoyed.
Passion alone is not a sign of good doctrine. Some cults have created communities of passionate people who sacrifice their lives following lies. But pure doctrine alone cannot produce church growth. We can be straight as a gun barrel doctrinally and as empty as a gun barrel spiritually. In every group of churches, no matter what their doctrine, we usually find some growing churches and others which are not, some are on “fire for God” while others are spiritually dead.
No matter how pure our doctrine may be, if our church members are not excited about God they will fail to share their faith with other people. Passionate spirituality is the fire which motivates us to witness. Whenever the defense of truth replaces the expression of a passionate faith in Christ, the church will not grow. Passionate spirituality comes from our living relationship with Jesus Christ.
One of the best ways to begin building passionate spirituality in our lives is by spending time with other Christians who are on fire for God. Their passion is contagious. We should visit churches which are experiencing revival and co-operate with evangelistic events in our area. These experiences will not automatically cause our church to grow, but they ignite a new passion in us for Jesus. We become motivated to seek after God. We develop a new hunger for spiritual gifts and receive faith to believe God for greater things.
Everything in our life should be to the glory of God. Church growth by itself should not be our goal. We are more than religious professionals. Our goal should be for our lives to glorify God.
Prayer should become as natural as breathing for the Christian. “Pray without ceasing.” I Thessalonians 5:17 Prayer is not a professional duty conducted to impress people. Prayer is our heart touching the heart of God. We should learn the secret of “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.” Ephesians 6:18
“Sanctify them by your truth. Your word is truth.” John 17:17 The Bible is not a sermon book. We should read our Bibles like reading a love letter from our Heavenly Father. Job said, “I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” Job 23:12
Our delight should be to bring delight to the heart of God. Worship is the theme of heaven, and through worship we experience a little of heaven on earth. Revelation 4:9-11 Many preachers watch their people worship but do not lead as worshippers. You do not need to be in the pulpit to be a leader, but you must visibly participate to be a leader.
Jesus willing left the glories of heaven to come to a sinful world. What motivated Him to come to our world? “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.” Matthew 18:11 Jesus believed that one soul had more eternal value than any amount of money. Luke 12:15-21 As spiritual leaders our love for souls is reflected in our people. Do we weep over lost souls? Do we care that people are dying without Christ? Jesus gave His life for a lost world. What are you giving your life for?
Reviews for Life-Giving Churches: Lesson 4