The mantra for many who get the wake-up call that their church is declining is, “do more work, harder, and try the next, latest, greatest, hyped program.”
Churches go through program after program for years and essentially are no different. Are those churches seeing some results? Sure. But they are not transformationally changed. So the results are limited. This is not the profile of the New Testament church—being limited. Nor is it the great movements or revivals of Christianity throughout history. Being limited. It adds to the church, but does not multiply. The church grows, but doesn’t explode exponentially.
The real issue is that mission effectiveness is directly tied to spiritual health. Spiritual health is a product of spiritual maturity. In John 15:11-15 Jesus follows His discourse about the vine and the branches. In verse 8 He says that you produce fruit when you mature as a disciple. In John 15:11-15, Jesus says, “I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that My joy might be in you and your joy wholly mature.” That is the second time He talks about maturing.
Bearing fruit—successful harvesting, effective mission, is tied directly to spiritual maturity. He continues by saying, “I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking or planning. No, I’ve named you friends….”
In verse 16, Jesus says, “You don’t choose Me, remember, I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil.”
Our purpose: eternal fruit. Our DNA: friends. Why? As mature disciples, we get what Jesus is thinking and planning. We think like Jesus. We plan like Jesus. Or, at least, we should.
The truth is, when we think and plan like Jesus, when we have His missional DNA, mission effectiveness reflects church health. Revival breaks out. Revival is exponential, explosive growth of Christianity that defies rational explanation. It is, in reality, miraculous, because we can experience the same revival as occurred in the First Century. It’s not a program. It’s an inside job. Inside of us. Who we are, not what we do.
Kent Hunter, founder of Church Doctor Ministries, is known as the Church Doctor. His most recent e-books are The Future Is Now and The J-Dog Journey, available at no cost. Contact him at (800) 626-8515, by email, Twitter, Facebook, or visit www.churchdoctor.org.