4 Essential Roles of the Holy Spirit in Local Church Community Revitalization and Realignment.

Since 2018, the Revive Initiative has been a continuous conversation with resources and events to encourage, equip and empower regional church communities and leaders. Through our conversations, events, studies and small groups - I have come to believe that the only way revitalization will happen is if the Holy Spirit begins renewal in the individuals of the local church community. 

As someone who has been involved in a few pastoral roles that could be considered to be revitalization work, I have come to believe that the only way revitalization will happen is if the Holy Spirit begins renewal in the individuals of the local church community. Our communal gatherings as a church can only be as revitalized, renewed, rested, recharged, realigned - as we are ourselves. The best indicator of fruitfulness in a church community, is simply the indicators of fruitfulness in the lives of those that make up the church community. To apply our E3 vision and posture, we might say that our church communities can only become encouraging, equipping and empowering if the majority of the individuals in our church community are finding ways to be encouraged, equipped, and empowered themselves; and only if they are finding ways to encourage, equip, and empower others in the places they live, work, and play.

The Pauline epistles are full of invitations and challenges from Paul that call local church communities into revitalization and realignment. Church revitalization is an essential process that many churches undergo to rejuvenate their congregations and stay relevant in today’s world. The truth is though, none of those churches Paul planted are alive today. All churches die. There comes a point when churches no longer find themselves able to revitalize and realign. However, for the communities in which the Holy Spirit continues to pour out new wine and is actively making all things new, we find church communities that model an ongoing process that consistently involves a deep examination of the church’s mission, vision, and values. However, even more, we find church communities of individuals that realize church requires a significant level of commitment, passion, and guidance from the Holy Spirit.

Jeff McLain pastoring at River Corner Church in Conestoga, PA.
The Holy Spirit is a key factor in the revitalization of the church. It is only fitting that a church community must model the community found in a Trinitarian Godhead. The Holy Spirit plays a vital role in the life of every Christian and therefore also in every place that followers of Jesus have gathered together in worship gatherings and intentional community. For the follower of Jesús, the Holy Spirit is the ultimate source of power, wisdom, and guidance for all who seek him. The Holy Spirit is what encourages, equips and empowers us as followers of Jesus. It is the Holy Spirit that can transform our inner lives but also the places we live, work, and play. In the same way, when the Spirit of God leads the church, the possibilities are endless.

Sadly, I think this level of surrender happens a lot less than we wish - both individually and communally. This is why we settle for formulas, webinars, church flywheel growth strategies and visionary leaders with low resilience and/or character. The truth, any success at this level will be short-lived and simply that - organizational success - not fruitfulness. 

I think there are four significant ways that the the Holy Spirit needs to play a key role in local church community revitalization and realignment:

  1. We must trust the Holy Spirit to renew our vision for the local church community. The Holy Spirit must be allowed to give each church community a unique vision that is specific to its mission and calling. The church leadership needs to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in developing and refining their vision. The Holy Spirit is always willing to bring clarity and direction to the vision of the church community and gathering.

  2. We must trust the Holy Spirit to calling and equipping the right leaders for our context. Too often we use logic to make a leadership change. Rather, throughout the scriptures we see that it is the Holy Spirit that is the one who calls and equips leaders for service in the church. The church should be prayerful about identifying and training new leaders - even after identifying a leader! The leadership of the church community should seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in developing and implementing leadership development programs - even after they are identified and developed.

  3. We must allow the Holy Spirit to create a contagious culture of prayer and worship in our church communities. The Holy Spirit is the one who enables believers to pray and worship in spirit and truth. This must be a true reality in the character and calling of every individual. We must start church revitalization work with the individuals. Ultimately, the church community should be a place where prayer and worship are central and where believers can experience the presence of God. The Holy Spirit can transform the church into a place of spiritual power and renewal. When we are all surrendered to the Holy Spirit through prayer and worship, our communities will be a place that encourage, equip and empower others.

  4. We must embody, announce, and demonstrate God's goodness and good news in the places we live work and play, with a sense of the Holy Spirit empowering our evangelism and missional investments. The Holy Spirit is the one who empowers the church for evangelism and mission. This is a supernatural and otherwordly act and transformation. The church should be a witness to the power of the Holy Spirit, demonstrating the love of Christ to the community and the world through natural and naturally supernatural ways. The Holy Spirit can inspire creativity and innovative approaches to evangelism and mission.
More importantly, I think it is essential for the leader of a context that is try to revitalize and realign their community and mission, also know that God has called them to this work. The work of revitalizing a church and it's mission can be downright exhausting. This may be a future blog. However, don't say yes, unless you know God has told you.

In conclusion, the Holy Spirit is essential in church revitalization. When the church leadership seeks the leading of the Holy Spirit and relies on His power and wisdom, the church can experience genuine renewal and revitalization. The Holy Spirit can transform the church into a place of spiritual power, renewal, and mission. The Holy Spirit is the key to the church’s success in fulfilling its mission and vision.

So,  I believe that the only way revitalization and realignment will happen is if the Holy Spirit begins renewal in the individuals of the local church community

Where have you seen this true?

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