Monday, November 05, 2012

Anatomy of a Revival 7: Living in Victory

(Nehemiah 7:1-4) After completing repairs of Jerusalem's wall, Nehemiah takes steps to consolidate and secure their victory and ensure continued growth. Churches will often plan a major effort such as high attendance day, VBS or a revival campaign. The careful planning, congregational involvement and contagious excitement result in a successful outcome. However, while basking in the glow of victory, there a tendency to relax. A “mission accomplished” attitude takes over which will limit the spiritual harvest.

Nehemiah knew that spiritual victories are short-lived and that God's enemies were still lurking outside the walls, so he appointed gatekeepers. Church leaders act as spiritual gatekeepers. Their role is not to keep certain people out but, rather, to keep people in by guarding the back door.

A large number of people who come in the front door of the church through successful outreach efforts walk out the back door through neglect. People who do not feel connected to their new church will drop out within six months. Spiritual gatekeepers can increase the ratio of newcomers who stay by creating relationship opportunities through personal follow-up, small group enrollment and fellowship opportunities.

Nehemiah also appointed singers and Levites (religious workers) to restore worship in Jerusalem. This reminds us that spiritual warfare is fought with spiritual weapons. Prayer, worship and praise are power weapons that strengthen us individually and as a church.

More leaders would be needed to keep the forward momentum. Nehemiah appointed two qualified leaders for Jerusalem so that the revival could continue and expand. It is often said that “everything rises or falls on leadership,” making leadership a limiting factor in Kingdom growth.

More workers and leaders are needed because there is still work to do. Nehemiah saw the finished walls but also noted: “the city was large and spacious, but there were few people in it, and the houses had not yet been rebuilt. (Nehemiah 7:4)”

Like Nehemiah, church leaders need to identify, recruit, empower and mentor new leaders. Paul wrote, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. (2 Timothy 2:2)”

What is the potential in your church? Are there empty pews and unused classrooms? If your church is in the process of revival, keep it going by looking to the potential and creating opportunities for people to lead and serve.

Recommended reading:
Hand Me Another Brick by Chuck Swindoll

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