A Letter to Eternity Church
By Raymond, Mark
As the Senior Minister of the church, many look to me for an understanding of why this church exists. Many of us are very aware that the church doesn't exist to just to fill a building with people and programs. This leads us to ask why, what for, who for, is it really worth the expense, effort, commitment and ultimately does it actually make a difference?
I was extremely challenged the other day and spent hours just praying at the front our church at the altar. During the prayer time I spent a lot of it asking God about a few large questions.
In my time as a church leader, I have attended and worshipped in a variety of churches over the years that cover the full spectrum of church experiences. I have been in churches that are chasers of the spectacular in the supernatural, to the opposite extreme of highly traditional liturgical services - I even once went to a Catholic Church in Krakow (at least I think it was as I don't speak polish). There is one common trait that you can find in each of these; we all think we are rich in spiritual truths, gifts and life, and yet the Church of Christ seems to remain complacent and unattractive to the world around us.
We devote our lives to impressive spectaculars, projects and giant conferences, some of which are technically brilliant. All of these things have their place and value, but the danger is that they fool the church into thinking that there are a lot of us and that we are making a strong impact upon society. In reality we are thinly scattered among a godless nation and we are hardly making a scratch upon its surface.
In Canberra today, the vast majority are apathetic about eternity. To sit with someone and tell them that Christ came into the world to save sinners invites the question; "To save sinners from what?" When we reply "from judgement and hell.", the response is something along the lines of; "is that all, I thought you had something important to say." They seem to be living alright without Christ now, so why would eternity matter? Eternity is just not in their minds.
When society is no longer thinking of eternity, it almost goes without saying that it is because the wider church no longer thinks that way either. There seems to be little about our lives as Christians that convinces the world around us that we are motivated for eternity.
On the whole people do not touch eternity when Christians gather in meetings, they rarely hear of it in the conversations and generally do not see it as a priority of the Christian's life.
Something has to change in this city.
I think of the roots of our denomination, we were birthed in revival. As a denomination we emerged out of the Welsh revival back in 1904, where whole towns were stirred and everybody was talking about God and eternity. Football matches were canceled, not because football was evil, but because nobody was interested - in one case gate takings were only 9 shillings. Whole towns and cities in the Welsh revival discovered that there was something more important. In revival God supernaturally saturates whole communities with a sense of the eternal. Eternity is back in their thinking.
In our church right now, there is a quickening. A quickening moves the church to a renewal, a renewal in the church moves the city toward a revival. I am so excited about what God is doing in our church and in so many lives right now, but is our Christianity seeing the power of God penetrate into our society, to see it bettered because people are coming to Christ?
We need to see revival.
A dream I have carried in my heart for this church is this. Imagine one day 800 people are unable to find a seat in our church, so they congregate on the grassed area and the car park at the front entrance to church. In an attempt to help them be included and experience something of what is happening in the house of God, Aaron Marshall and Holly Link, grab a guitar and head out onto the grassed area and start a worship service in the car park. Mason follows and preaches a gospel message and hundreds submit their lives to Christ.
Then 3 hours later, whilst at Kambah Woolworths, Rachael Stevens is pulled aside by a few people who heard about what had just happened at church. The end result is Rachael leads another 50 people to Christ at the shops, Tom prays for a few people and sees some amazing healings.
This sounds like a community saturated with God. When God comes in revival, whole communities are aware that there is a God and that eternal issues really matter. Not everyone will believe, but everyone will be made to think.
Eternity Church currently has approximately 600 regular church attendees. Impressed? At a church growth seminar that gets me a seat on the front row. But when you think about it that is a 0.16% impact on our city and 99.84% drive on by. I ask myself; am I inspiring those 600 to believe for and seek God for our whole community to be mindful of eternity. What more must I do, believe for, seek God for? The end gut feeling of each of those questions is this: I want to see revival.
In our church services right now, there is an incredible freedom that overwhelms us in worship. It is awesome and amazing, but no revival in history was ever ushered in by singing, it is birthed in prayer. Seeking God for a transformation in our own heart, a transformation of those closest to us, a transformation of our church community, which ultimately will burst out into a transformation of our city.
My prayer right now, is;
"God I love it. I love what you are doing amongst those in the church right now. But there has got to be more. If this is it, take me home now. But I know this is not it, there is more. There is more, we need the more."
Can I ask you join with me in this prayer?
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