I haven’t had a good rant on my blog in a while and in an effort to write more of what’s on my mind, this is what gets published for the world to see.
I’ve been prepping for a conference this summer in which I’m leading worship for a few sessions. Worship leading was really never my thing before joining Christian Associates, but it’s now a part of what I enjoy doing. I love music and love seeking God. Singing worship songs is a combo of the two…
But during the process of reading about ‘the worship scene’ and learning new songs I’ve found myself disturbed. The word ‘revival’ is thrown out a there a lot…a lot. Certainly in some circles more than others. Groups talk about starting revival through singing and teaching, setting people’s hearts on fire, equipping people to be sent out, etc. I know that while money is being made, lives are being lived, people are producing mediocre music and selling the songs, and the consumers of the worship music industry are having spiritual experiences that there isn’t a lot of time or need to question what is being done. I don’t doubt that people are changed for a time. I don’t doubt that people are inspired. I don’t doubt that people are genuine and sincere. But I do doubt whether or not this is the foundation of a revival.
It’s fun to talk about revival. It’s fun to talk about movements. They are big. Larger than life. They are intangible and the ideas make us dream big. But I don’t think that surreal events are the places where Jesus really embeds into our DNA.
It’s the simple. It’s faith. It’s the small choices that we make out of love and gratitude that begin the revival within us. I love what Keith Green said in his classic song:
“I want to take your Word, and shine it all around
But help me first, just to live it Lord”
But here is where the disconnect is.
The world around us could really care less about our big plans for revival. In fact, I believe that the more they here us use Christio-spiritual-lingo-babble and then don’t seen us actually living lives that reflect Jesus clearly the worse off we are. People don’t want to meet an ‘on fire’ Christian. Or a ‘spirit lead’ believer. They don’t even know what that means. (What does that even mean? Who are we to say that some Christians or leaders are lead by the Spirit and some aren’t? I get that the intent is to say that some leaders talk about the Spirit or practice Spiritual gifts, but it really comes across differently than intended…)
What I believe people need is to see a people that are choosing to be like Jesus. The Jesus that invited the tax collectors out of trees and restored their humanity. The Jesus that touched the lepers…the outcasts. The Jesus that risked His own safety for the freedom of others. The Jesus that was human. The Jesus that cared. The Jesus that loved and interacted with people. The Jesus that turned water into wine to honor a poor couple. The Jesus that went out of his way to mourn a friend.
No amount of worship conferences could replace the influence of all of the people of the world who call themselves Jesus-followers actually following Jesus.
If you want to make a case that conferences bring glory to God, then I would say that I think it’s clear in the Scriptures that God cares more for one ‘lost’ (read: valuable) sheep coming to him than the 99 whom he already has. I think it’s clear in Scripture that God is most glorified when people live rightly under His ways.
So, is all this to say that I don’t think that worship has it’s place? Or is not beneficial? Or does not motivate people to closeness with God? Of course not! Otherwise I wouldn’t be leading worship at the conference in a couple of weeks.
But I do think that for our time we need to be clear that our talks of revival need to be a revival of our internal lives, our obedience to following Jesus, our trust in God…not just singing and more talk about God. Good orthodoxy leads to good orthoproxy…when we believe rightly about God, we’ll behave accordingly. Somewhere our orthodoxy is wrong…thus the talk of need for revival throughout generations.
I would say that within each of us lies the potential for revival, for a movement…it’s the true Spirit of God waiting for us to obey His voice and follow him into the real world.