I believe I was in my late thirties when I found myself in the Emergency Room, the first time since a sporting accident at age 21. This is not a place that I frequent. I had gotten sick earlier in the week and had heaved so heavily that I threw my body’s electric system out of whack. I could feel every beat of my heart albeit irregular. It is a very strange feeling to be conscious and realize your heart stopped beating. Yet, that is what was happening to me. It wasn’t stopping long enough to cause damage, just missing three to five beats, then irregular to regular.
Perhaps the strangest thing, yet maybe life-saving, was that I could feel my heart beating in my chest. I was aware of every beat and every missed beat. After a battery of tests including an echocardiogram, I was sent home with a Holter Heart monitor to record my heart for three days. Within that three days, my heart and electrical system corrected themselves. There were no side effects, no lingering issues, no damage. I did not go looking for an irregular heartbeat, but I certainly was looking for a solution.
Is it possible many churches today find themselves in a similar situation? Churches are continuously looking for solutions, but they are not going to the emergency room. In fact, the solutions sought after are solutions to symptoms, not the cause. A drop in attendance is not a cause. It is a symptom of some other ailment or irregular heartbeat in the church. A void of new people coming into the church is not a cause. It is a symptom.
Our churches often are looking to the world for spiritual remedies. This is an oxymoron. The world cannot provide spiritual remedies. We live in the world but are not of the world. Spiritual remedies are truly needed, and they will only be found in the spiritual realm – from God above.
Effective Great Commission churches are effective because they are not attempting in their own power what can only be accomplished through God’s power. You will find in these churches’ men and women of prayer. Their prayers are not like those of most church members. Theirs is a lifestyle of deep concerted prayer. Their prayers are for more than wisdom alone. They are praying for beyond natural ability to comprehend the varying factors of the issues before them. Their prayers include the capability of embracing God’s directive and directions for the church. They are praying for the capacity to lead the entire congregation in the same matters.
The leaders I am speaking of are more than the Senior pastor and staff. These are congregants, spiritual leaders whom God has placed in these churches and He has placed some in your church as well. Effective New Testament churches feel the heartbeat of God as I could feel the heartbeat in my chest during that week of irregularity.
The New Testament church does not exist without the drumming heartbeat of God within her. When was the last time you experienced the drumming heartbeat of God in your church? What is required of you personally to return to this state of health realizing and depending on the drumming heartbeat of God?