The Need for Supernatural and Spiritual Leadership in the Church – part 1

 

   The church today is dealing with an identity crisis. Many congregations are struggling to maintain relevancy as society rapidly changes in our Post Modern world. Some maintain traditional forms of worship that have been passed down from generation to generation, but are finding it difficult to attract the younger generations who consider them irrelevant to their lifestyles. Others utilize modern marketing techniques, audio/visual systems, and seeker-sensitive meeting formats to attract the younger generation, but struggle to develop spiritual depth among their attendees. The world is changing rapidly ... how can we keep up with the social trends, maintain relevancy, and help folks go deep in their Christian walk.

 

    The struggle in the church to deal with the social changes and values of the world is not a new problem; it has been around since the early days of the church.

John 17:14 - I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

   The real identity crisis is not rooted in staying relevant to the current cultural trends or maintaining our church traditions. The real identity problem is this:

   How do you cultivate an other-worldly culture within a worshipping discipleship community?

   This has been an issue throughout the history of the church and has resulted in tensions between traditional approaches to church life, the desire of scriptural expressions, the need for sociological relevancy, and the hunger for supernatural expression.  

   We can see these tensions displayed throughout church history in the unique rituals, liturgies, theologies, and even in physical church architectures.

   We can see this in the protestant reformation project, which was as much about adapting to the social changes emerging from the Renaissance as it was correcting problems in the Roman Catholic church. We can see this in the Pentecostal revival, Evangelical movement, Charismatic movement, Seeker Sensitive movement, Modern Worship Music project, and even the current New Apostolic Reformation movement.

 

   Often these tensions are tempered by the church focusing on the day-to-day problems in the world and pushing supernatural expressions back to the past and far into the future … The supernatural stuff was needed to get the church started, but we can continue without it for now and we will deal with the rest of that spiritual stuff when we get to heaven … every once in a while, God intervenes in human history, but for the most part, he has given us what we need and expects us to take care of the details.

 

   So in order to deal with the issues raised from John 17:14, we should ask ourselves this question;

Do we really want to even attempt to cultivate and other-worldly culture in the church, or is it enough just to attempt to be relevant to our changing culture and help our people adjust and adapt to what is going on in the world around them?

   We can be traditionalist, conservative, liberal, evangelical, or even Pentecostal. We can add modern music, video clips, and drama to our worship time. We can add all types of helps ministry; alcohol and substance abuse, physical and mental abuse victims, marriage and trauma counseling, immigration services, etc. We can create an adult education program and teach different self-help classes that will help our church members grow mentally, emotionally, socially, and perhaps even religiously.

   All of these things can be very helpful and good for the members of our church, but we should be honest and admit that we are primarily helping them better adjust and interact with the world around them; they are becoming “better-worldly” not “”other-worldly”.

-1-