In choosing to focus my attention on the priority of what the Bible calls “the heart,” I must quickly acknowledge that I’m no scholar. Others in the Body of Christ have written eloquently and scholarly on this vital topic. What they have written has benefited me beyond description.
On the other hand, I could be better described as a church practitioner. My life has been spent in the local church, as both a pastor and a denominational partner. This experience has profoundly shaped how I have come to view this matter of the human heart.
For years, I have used a particular methodology in my work with local congregations that I have in recent days rejected as both flawed and unbiblical. The approach I used could be described as attempting to lead believers to embrace and engage the mission of God and as a result experience renewal and revitalization. I am now convinced that this is a classic example of putting the cart before the horse.
I am now prepared to assert the following on this subject of church renewal and revitalization: the heart of the problem is the problem of the heart.
I have erroneously assumed that if church members would simply become active in pursuing ministry and mission opportunities, then they would see God’s hand at work in those situations and become different people as a result. Yet this doesn’t appear to occur at all. If anything, their involvement in those situations promotes not a spirit of humility but rather one of pride, pride about what good people they must be for their participation in the work of God. For the most part, the majority of the congregations I serve can’t be persuaded to even get involved in this work for any length of time.
The road I’ve been on has turned out to be a dead-end. And so I have begun the long road back, which consists of focusing on the renewal of the heart through Christ and through the gospel. I invite you to join me.