Monterey Baptist Church
Friday, November 17, 2017
Pastor Daryl L. Poe

The Eagle's View

 

What is Renewal?

In the life and ministry of the church, the term “renewal” is increasingly heard. Renewal is the act of beginning again. For the Christian, it is establishing a Christ-centered lifestyle, where His indwelling presence is in control. This is what Jesus referred to as the abundant life.

Renewal differs from a “church revival” in the method of presentation and in the emphasis. Revival involves a pastor sharing the gospel with a group of people. Renewal involves one layperson telling another about the daily reality of Jesus Christ in their lives. Both revival and renewal result in spiritual awakenings. However, while revival concentrates on the immediate harvest, renewal is a long-term discovery and discipleship process.  

Why is Renewal Needed?

Too often the church has a superficial involvement in Christian ministries. Churches experiencing renewal discover a spiritual foundation for everything a church undertakes. Organizations and programs no longer exist for their own sake; they take on new meaning because they are focused on ministry, evangelism, and missions.

 

Church renewal is God’s work. Scripture and church history indicate His readiness to renew and awaken His people to His reality and purpose for them. The Scriptures portray spiritual renewal in individuals’ lives, as seen in the examples of Jacob, Moses, David, and Peter. God renewed His nation Israel again and again. The ultimate renewal of our world will take place when Jesus returns.

 

Many Scriptures speak of God’s willingness for His people to experience renewal. In 2 Chronicles 7:14 there is a prescription for renewal; God’s people must humble themselves and pray, seek God’s face, and turn away from besetting sins.

 

Ultimately the battleground for the Christian is in the world. It is the world for which Christ died. It is the world to which we as Christians are sent. What ultimately happens in the world depends upon what first happens in the local church. God chooses to involve man in His great redemptive world mission. Genuine renewal will impact individual believers, the church, and the world for Christ.

 

Who Needs Renewal?

Renewal is essential for the church body. A myriad of books and articles has been written criticizing the body of Christ. Critics denounce it for being irrelevant in a world that is truly falling apart. 

The church is criticized because it:

     •      Devotes its energies to maintaining programs that do not meet needs.

     •      Guards tradition and rituals at the expense of encouraging vibrant worship.

     •      Fosters a faith that is superficial and mechanical.

     •      Concerns itself with its organizational life rather than with its spiritual ministry.

 

In the eyes of the church, organizational and spiritual goals usually are viewed as identical. However, in reality, organizational goals may be reached without achieving spiritual purposes. The church as a collective body must be renewed so that church’s activities and God’s purposes are one.

The clergy also need renewal. Pastors and other full-time Christian workers are leaving their ministries at an alarming rate. The clergy’s sense of frustration and futility result in burn out and subsequent bail out. It is imperative that these discouraged ministers experience renewal. A fresh breath of God’s Spirit in their personal lives also will impact the flock they shepherd.

Finally, renewal is essential to awaken the “sleeping giant” –the laity. God’s plan to redeem the world cannot be done by the clergy alone. His plan always has been to show the world He is real through every believer. He calls out an enormous army, but in many cases only the “commissioned officers” engage in the battle. Both groups need to awaken to God’s call.

Those in the pews must experience an authentic and deepening spiritual journey before they will respond as soldiers in the battle. Some church members never enter the battle because their lives are not transformed by Christ. Others must examine themselves to discover if their ministry is being done in the power of the Holy Spirit or in their own strength. Joy and fulfillment are present when Christians are led in the power of the Spirit.

 

Truly the church and the individuals who comprise it need renewal. David knew it was essential in his life when he prayed in Psalm 51:

 

Surely You desire integrity in the inner self wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness… God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Restore the joy of Your salvation to me … Then I will teach the rebellious Your ways, and sinners will return to You.

As the Scripture clearly points out, personal renewal and restoration must come before evangelism. For the church to be relevant in the world, renewal must take place in the church as a body, in the lives of the leadership, and in the lives of all believers.

As a church, we are excited about continuing our Journey of Renewal in Christ Jesus.  In the upcoming months, we will talk more about some important steps we'll take together.  Others will be coming along side us to help us as we walk.  It is vital that we remember that the Journey is not a program or some faddish "quick fix".  It is a lifelong process. 

It is our call, our mission, our joy to "Come" and follow Christ in order to become like Him.