For almost seven years, pastors of the Touchet Valley have met weekly to pray for each other, our churches and for spiritual renewal in our valley. Annually, we have a two-day prayer retreat where we dedicate ourselves to hearing from God about what He wants to do in our valley. The result of such intensive prayer is a growing love and respect for one another - and that has led to a growing unit
y among us. This is nothing less than a miraculous accomplishment on God's part.
At our retreat this May, however, there was a perceptible mood of dissatisfaction among us. This was not negativity about our calling or the people in our churches, but about the state of the Church at large, to which we are called to minister. It's a dissatisfaction that the Church seems to have so little impact on society; a mourning that we're not seeing more of God's power and the fire of His Spirit in people's lives - a sorrow the Church seems so anemic compared to the Church described in the book of Acts in the Bible.
My reaction to the dissatisfaction of my fellow pastors was, "Praise the Lord!" I recalled that the great American evangelist Charles Finney, God's servant in bringing spiritual awakening to America in the 1830's, wrote about this dissatisfaction among ministers in his Revival Lectures. He wrote that such a dissatisfaction was actually a sign that revival was on its way. "If Christians are made to feel that they have no hope but in God ... then there certainly will be a revival," he said.
I wonder if some readers might also feel it. I wonder if some believers aren't also distressed that the Church seems to be losing rather than gaining ground. I wonder whether you weep over a young generation that seems to have so little fire for the Lord in their hearts.
If so, please don't give up on the Church. She is still the Bride for which Christ is returning; the Bride he will clothe in His righteousness. Instead, allow the dissatisfaction to bring you to your knees in prayer to the Lord to breathe fresh life into the Church, His Body.
Is it possible that the Spirit is preparing Christians with a "holy dissatisfaction" to drive them to their knees? Is it possible the Spirit is calling churches from different denominations to join together in prayer for something they can only obtain by praying in unity? Is the Spirit reminding us that man doesn't have the solutions, and God is our only hope? Is it possible the Spirit is preparing Christians for a fresh move of His Holy Spirit that will restore the full testimony of Jesus Christ to His Body? That is the message Touchet Valley pastors are hearing. Are some of you hearing the same message?
The Rev. Gregory Bye is pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Dayton. He can be reached at email@example.com. Pastors in the U-B circulation area who want to write a column should contact Catherine Hicks at 509-526-8312, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.