This Is No Country Club: Wake Up You Sleepy Church!

Some years ago, a friend suggested that I apply for a clergy courtesy pass at a private golf club. For years the club had a clergy friendly policy that permitted ministers to play their course at no charge. So, I applied but my application was rejected, because it was noted that I resided in the wrong zip code. The community in which I lived was not far from the club, but courtesy for clergy according to their bylaws was limited to those living in a specifically defined locality. Though disappointed, I respected that decision. And, the reality is that I rarely played more than a few rounds of golf a year, anyway. Oh yeah, and when we moved to Florida from Connecticut, my wife sold my golf clubs for a single dollar in a tag sale!  

Unfortunately, we live in a day when churches of every stripe are in decline across America: mainline Protestant, Orthodox, Catholic and evangelical churches are in significant decline. While there are notable exceptions to the trend, more and more churches are in decline because those who belong to them have forgotten that the church, the present manifestation of God’s Kingdom in the world today is not a private club for members only. The church founded by Christ and birthed by the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost exists to extend the grace of God to men, women, and children of every race, tongue, tribe and nation.

Maybe as we think about the resurrection hope we have in Jesus Christ this Easter Sunday, it is time to think about a resurrection of another kind, one which awakens sleepy churches out their slumber to the mission our risen Lord has called them.

19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.

21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. John 20:19-21 KJV

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hiddenarrows

Ed presently serves as the Lead Pastor of Leesburg Alliance Church, Leesburg, FL. He has had over 30 years of ministry experience, sixteen of them at Greenwoods Community Church in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. More recently he has fulfilled transitional interim assignments for the Alliance Southeast of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Englewood and Spring Hill, Florida. In addition, Ed has had nearly 13 years of experience in the field of geriatric healthcare. His wife, Lynn, is a true partner in ministry, having served Greenwoods Community Church as its Children's Ministry Coordinator for over ten years. She is a decorator, colorist, instructor in furniture painting, and an artist in her own right. For over 20 years she had her own business, Whimsical Brushes, teaching and traveling throughout the Northeast. Ed’s passion and heartfelt prayer remains for genuine revival and awakening in our nation. One of the keys to past workings of God especially in New England has been related to pastors mentoring pastors. God has given Ed a burden to be a mentor pastor, developing leaders for the church in the 21st Century. One way in which he is fulfilling that calling is through Rockbridge Seminary, where he serves as an adjunct professor of Spiritual Formation. Ed has earned degrees from Cairn University (B.S. 1971), Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.M. 1979), and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (D.Min. 2007). He has published several articles on the Spiritual Heritage of Litchfield County, Connecticut, and led several tours of sites associated with the Village Revivals that spawned the Second Great Awakening in New England. In his spare time, you are likely to find Ed at the piano or pecking out a blog on his blog page https://hiddenarrows.blog

2 thoughts on “This Is No Country Club: Wake Up You Sleepy Church!”

  1. It seems to me that there are great numbers of church members in declining congregations that are ignorant of their responsibility to evangelize. It is not that the evangelist is responsible for a response resulting from the evangelistic charge, just as the responsibility for a battle’s victory is not in the hands of any single soldier. The individual soldier is responsible to move forward with the evangelistic charge to bring glory to the hands of a sovereign God. Arthur W. Pink perhaps said it best of our responsibilities to evangelize.
    “The grand design of God, from which He never has and never will swerve, is to glorify Himself: to make manifest before His creatures what an infinitely glorious Being He is. That is the great aim and end He has in all that He does and says. For that He suffered sin to enter the world. For that He willed His beloved Son to become incarnate, render perfect obedience to the divine law, suffer and die. For that He is now taking out of the world a people for Himself, a people which shall eternally show forth His praises. For that everything is ordered by His providential dealings, unto that everything on earth is now being directed, and shall actually affect the same. Nothing other than that is what regulates God in all His actings: “For of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Rom. 11:36)
    That grand and basic truth is written right across the Scriptures with the plainness of a sunbeam, and he who sees it not is blind. All things are appointed by God to that one end. His saving of sinners is not an end in itself, for God would have been no loser had every one of them eternally perished. No, His saving of sinners is but a means unto an end: “to the praise of the glory of His grace.” (Eph. 1:6) Now from that fundamental fact it necessarily follows that we should make the same our aim and end: that God may be magnified by us — “whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31) In like manner it also follows that such must be the preacher’s aim, and that everything must be subordinated thereto, for everything else is of secondary importance and value.”
    “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? How are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” Romans 10:13-15
    All else is vanity save the feet carrying the good news of the eternal life to the glory of God.

    Liked by 1 person

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