Wow! January is almost half over. What?! Since it appears to me that most of us are still in the new year’s resolution stage, I’m “borrowing” a list from Thom Rainer as I think about praying for this upcoming year in the local church of which I am a part. My pastor, who happens to be my hubby, has encouraged us to be more prayerful this year. And I love that this list actually starts there … with PRAYER. I’m excited about what God can do through the people of SCBC if we commit to emphasizing the most important thing(s). I believe that God can use any church that commits itself to praying for these things and doing them. I’m adding a little “commentary” with each item to clarify my personal take-away.
A greater emphasis on prayer. The church we see in the book of Acts was devoted to prayer. I believe the only way to see a spiritual breakthrough in our church, and any church, is more persistent and passionate prayer … corporately and personally.
Standing firm on biblical truth. Standing firm on biblical truth means more than gaining biblical knowledge. It means taking seriously all the teachings of scripture (not just the ones we like or have always emphasized) and praying for wisdom to understand and apply daily what God means through the pages of His Word.
Greater unity in our churches. This is a biggie in my mind. I think that if there is more prayer, there will be more unity. Effectual prayer unifies us.
Greater intentionality in evangelism. If we are not seeing people come to saving faith in Christ and being baptized, we need to take a serious look at ourselves. If we are committed to standing firm on biblical truth, we will be making more and better disciples … because Jesus commanded us to do so.
Greater emphasis on groups. I love my small groups. I enjoy the fellowship, the prayer, and the community that takes place. In fact, I think that having small groups is the only way “koinonia” can happen in a church. WORD OF CAUTION (as a minister’s wife): A small group should never become its own mini church. If a small group begins to separate itself from the larger group, this can break unity. I’ve seen this happen when a small group unofficially “elects” the leader as their pastor. They become engaged with only one another, often emphasize certain doctrines to the neglect of others, may become proud, and sometimes the group develops a critical spirit toward the church and its leaders. Small groups must be committed to preserving the unity of the whole body.
Clear plans of discipleship. I’ve experienced churches where there’s so much emphasis on discipleship that it becomes almost like a private club rather than an open community. But when people are genuinely growing in Christ, the kingdom of God will expand!
More ministry involvement and impact in our communities. Although this is last in the list, it’s not last in importance when I pray. If SCBC isn’t impacting our community (that is, me personally impacting those around me), then we are probably going awry on on of the above points. Passionate prayer, a love for God’s truth, being unified with our brothers and sisters in Christ by gathering in small groups, seeing people come to faith and grow in Christ … all of these will stir within us a compassion for those in our church and our community!
As I look back at this list, I realize that it’s somewhat obvious. If you read much of the NT, it would be hard to argue against any one of these. But knowing something doesn’t always lead us to implementing it. We have to actually believe that it’s important. Even more, essential!
I’m praying these for churches across our world. And our nation. And in my city. I’m praying these for SCBC. I’m praying that I’ll do my part!
Greater things have yet to come
and greater things are still to be done in this city!
There is no one like our God!
There is no one like You, God!!