A year ago if you'd ask me what are the greatest challenges facing churches today, I'd have most certainly offered up an answer that in some way leaned toward issues where churches are failing to "do church" in ways that make sense to people in a modern culture. It's true that while our message must never change, our practical ministry approaches must always change.
However, today, if you were to ask me the same question, "What are the greatest challenges facing churches today?" I'd bring you a simple answer. For I am convinced that what is missing in churches today is not simply a better way to do ministry. What's missing in our churches is ... favor.
The New Testament church we see in Acts had no money, no technology, no marketing plan, no multi-million dollar children's ministry, nor did they have a staff where most ministers carry a post-graduate degree. All of those things are wonderful, and those assets certainly help. Yet, the New Testament church did not have any of that, and still, those small band of Holy Spirit fueled believers created complete anarchy for established religious systems and state governments who had no option but to deal with these "Christians."
Our American churches have everything we need and then some, but we pose little if no threat to our culture. What is missing is favor. God gave His favor to His people. Favor is the X factor. It's what money cannot buy. Favor follows through when marketing plans run out of budget. Favor keeps preachers preaching straight up truth regardless of what it does to their 401k.
Favor comes from God, and He gives it to churches who want His favor more than they want a campus for others churches to envy. Favor comes when people who fill the pews are more interested in His presence than simply living out a retail form of Christianity where folks shop churches just like they'd shop at Target.
Favor ... not ministry solutions ... is the Bethel to which we must return. Without it, we can do everything we want to in order to grow a church, but we'll never grow a Kingdom.
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