Enhancing Spiritual Energy
One of the SIX Dynamics of Congregational Transformation
Have you ever read a book that once read, keeps reading you? It’s message percolates in your mind. You put it down, but it continues to pop back up. Chuck Meyer’s Dying Church Living God: A Call To Begin Again is one of those books for me. He offers a bold, radical plea for enhancing spiritual energy in the Church using the metaphor of Lazarus' death and resurrection.
The persistent spiritual-energy truism is that all things spiritual are sourced, discovered, experienced, and controlled INSIDE the church. This may sound like classical Roman Catholicism, but recent trends such as membership downturns, Louisville pink slips, synodical vaporware, and clergy dissonance, suggest that many euphemistically called main-line denominations have containerized the Good News, hiding the light under the proverbial bushel basket.
Chuck Meyer refers to Numbers 11:24-29 when the Spiritual-Police complained to Moses that non-priests, those OUTSIDE the Tent of Meeting, were prophesying! I love the response: But Moses said, “Are you jealous for me? Would that all GOD’S people were prophets. Would that GOD would put his Spirit on all of them.” Spiritual energy is not a controlled substance. Jesus said the Living Waters would flow! Its disturbing that the church thinks of itself more like a dam then a spigot.
Did you know that microwave ovens were tested for leakage using a florescent bulb? They proved they were working when the bulb glowed…outside! Where do you see the glow in your community? Outside the church buildings? See any real halos on the heads of believers? Anything emanating from the pews during worship, or in the parking lot afterward?
There is a demonstrable lack of spiritual yearning in many of our churches. But there is an inversely demonstrable spiritual yearning outside our churches! It’s ironic that denominationally we are loosing 1,000 “insiders” a week. One reason may be our snubbing of spiritual energy. (See 10 Sure Ways to Snub Spiritual Energy in Your Congregation list in the sidebar. http://www.kevinyoho.com/fuel.html)
We can’t even connect with the spirituality of those inside the “tent” of what Chuck Meyer calls the Dying Church, let alone those outside.
Our transformation journey suggests that many of our structures and theology make no sense today and haven't for decades. The point is not whether our structures or theology are correct. They could be! The missional point is that whatever our structures and theology, we are not connecting with people’s spiritual yearnings today.
With Moses, we must first courageously admit that it is God who seeks us where we are and as we are. Second, we must not allow nostalgic irrelevance to monolithically stand in the way of the Spirit.
People are desperately seeking hope, nurture, purpose, and God. They are looking for the glow of spirituality but often are not finding one lumen of light among churched people.
Remember to take some spiritual energy TO-GO inside your congregation and in your community. By enhancing spiritual energy IN our congregations, we can rediscover our missional capacity to pray with Moses that God would put the Spirit on everyone.
Dr. Kevin Yoho, (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Consultant for Congregational Transformation, Presbytery of West Jersey