Since starting assemblyHUB just over a year ago we have received dozens of emails, Facebook messages and even phone calls from believers all over North America. The majority have been telling us of their situations and how the Lord is working. There is a growing excitement building and the Holy Spirit is moving among his people.
As we look to a new year ahead here are 8 ways we see the assemblies moving forward and making progress. There may be many more but these are the main points. We pray that these become a vital part of every assembly in 2016.
- Urgency to pray. Believers are getting together to pray in ways we haven’t seen in decades. These are prayers for revival and growth in our assemblies. They are happening in homes and assembly buildings; in groups of men and women, young and old, seasoned Christians and young in the faith. Assemblies who go beyond the traditional “mid-week prayer meeting” and cultivate a dependency on prayer will grow as prayer changes lives. See Acts 4:31.
- Desire for fresh Bible Study. One of the most exciting ways the Spirit is moving is in hearts of men and women who are engaged in digging into the Word of God. There is a desire to listen to the Spirit speaking without preconceived ideas. Young people want reality when it comes to the application of the Word. They want to ensure their Christian lives are guided by Scripture and not the teachings of men. This is fundamental to growth as only the Spirit through the Word of God can move the hearts of his people. See Acts 5:42 and Acts 19:9-10
- Rediscovering biblical shepherding. The next generation of leaders are being raised with true shepherding in mind. This type of leadership is more about relationships than it is about programs and administration. Getting back to the true model, our great Shepherd, reveals a dynamic, selfless and powerful leadership model to follow. The assemblies need leaders who will submit themselves to the will of the Spirit and be open to follow whatever path he takes each assembly. This will take courage to move forward and not be tied to the past. See 1 Peter 5:1-4.
- More than just doing church. The idea of biblical fellowship has been lost in many assemblies. In many ways assemblies can become well-oiled machines following a robotic schedule. The adherence to meetings has become in many places the standard of spirituality, yet little is done as a church at any other time. Assemblies that take fellowship outside of the assembly’s 4 walls will grow as people become more involved in each other’s lives. See Acts 2:46-47.
- Evangelism that relates. Evangelism is key to growth. Some assemblies haven’t seen anyone saved in years. Assemblies that engage the lost where they are and present the gospel in a relevant way will see growth. It’s not just a matter of preaching the gospel and patting ourselves on the back. It’s about being intentional about how we present it. The ones who sow and water do so with purpose and not just carelessly. We see this both exampled in the Lord and the apostle Paul. Does the Lord expect us to see men and women saved and discipled? Yes, and we should too. Let’s make it happen in 2016. See Acts 8:4.
- Opening up discussions. Many assemblies are hurting and some are even ready to shut down. In some places, the exodus of young families has been devastating. Assemblies that are willing to recognize the need for discussion and engage the young families and young people can reverse the trend. Elders who open up the discussion and really listen can do great things in 2016! See Ephesians 4:15-16
- Willingness to change. A refusal to change has sent many young people away from the assemblies. There is, however, a growing number of assemblies who recognize this and are embracing New Testament principles in a fresh and relevant way that engages young men and women instead of creating division. Elders who are willing to let go of past traditions and apply New Testament principles in a current and relevant way can see a new vitality in their assembly. See Mark 7:8-9.
- Lay down the weapons. The church has been divided for centuries. The way Christians have treated each other has put a dark stain on the name of Christ. Strife and wars are abundant. Judging, critical spirits, selfishness and pride, bitterness and jealousies are used as weapons by some believers to beat down those who do not agree with them. Maybe more than anything we need a fresh glimpse of the Saviour who fought the fight to bring us together into ONE body, HIS body. He hates division. He hates when his children fight against each other. It’s time for us to lay down our weapons and come together to represent his character of love, grace, forgiveness, goodness and kindness. See Ephesians 4:31-32.
Obviously in a short article like this more needs to be said to fully develop these thoughts. These are meant to get discussions going within your assembly. What areas need improving or changed? What is your assembly’s vision for growth?
Together with the leading of the Spirit, our assemblies can change our families and communities. We can make an impact on the lives of those who are part of our local fellowships and those who are searching for a Savior.
May 2016 be a year of blessing and growth in your assembly!