Local Church Impact

Chapter 11 of “The Holiness Manifesto” is called “Local Church Impact”, written by Jim Adams & C. Stevens Schell. Adams is the executive director for the Center for Global Learning and Engagement at Azusa Pacific University, and is connected to the Foursquare Church. Schell also serves the Foursquare Church, and is pastor at Northwest Foursquare Church in Washington.

Despite several points in this chapter where they talk about “postmodernism” as if someone just discovered it, and putting it in the same category as “paganism of ancient Rome, superstition/lack of biblical literacy among the laypeople of the Middle Ages, and the sexual revolution of the 20th century” in terms of a challenge the local church must face…it pans out to be a pretty good read.

They encourage us learning 5 things from John Wesley’s ministry that can be helpful to our ministry no matter what cultural changes occur:

1. Promoting Spirit-empowered prayer (and releasing/creating space & time for those we lead into such.)

2. Working effectively WITHIN the established church. Illustrating how Wesley’s desire was for revival and transformation of the already existing body of Christ he was a part of.

3. Encouraging small group ministry – not to “grow the church”, but to bring health and opportunity for maturity and faith-depths not possible by the usual large-group gatherings alone. They point to LTG’s and Neil Cole as a healthy example. (ps. I REALLY like this LTG concept…and may be leaning in this direction in my own small group interactions.)

4. Living out a “deeply felt and actively expressed” faith. An area that can definitely go un-discussed in many church-attenders homes these days. That a healthy church can only come when it’s people experience meaningful and growing spiritual lives.

5. Recognizing Holiness as a Requisite to the Christian Life. A recurring theme throughout this book. That holiness is more than just a “pie in the sky”, and definitely not reserved for only the purest of elders. But IS actually a living aspect of this whole “God at work in my life and heart” thing we call salvation.

Overall, it’s a great reminder that this “call to holiness is a call to change in the church.” I can definitely get down with that…

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