But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Revelation 2:4-5
Why have so many churches lost the spiritual passion they once had? That was the subject of a lively conversation I had last week with an experienced pastor. He recalled days gone by when churches were filled with people who sang enthusiastically, studied the Bible intently, donated generously and shared their faith with confidence. Now, he lamented, it seems that churches have a lot more empty seats, hardly anyone actually sings, few people carry a Bible (even an electronic one) and tithers have become an endangered species. As we discussed the challenges churches face, we agreed that the root of the problem seems to be with the lack of personal spirituality.
In our current culture, people have become so busy they no longer take time to read the Bible and pray, which greatly impacts the depth of their devotion to God. Likewise, people have become so focused on having the latest gadgets, the newest cars and the most fabulous vacations that they no longer feel they can afford to tithe. Many young adults have borrowed so much money in order to secure an education; tithing seems like a financial impossibility. All of this impacts the church more than most people realize.
A church is only as strong as its individual members, so when the individual members struggle spiritually, so does the church as a whole. When individual members no longer study the Bible on their own, know how to engage in worship or give of their time, talent and treasure, the church as an organization can no longer accomplish its mission as effectively as it once did.
The good news is that churches can be revived fairly simply. All it takes is individual members once again accepting responsibility for their own spiritual disciplines. Imagine it each of us began to have a daily time of Bible reading and prayer like our grandparent’s generation! Imagine if each of actually denied our wants and took up our cross daily and lived for Christ, volunteering our time and giving of our financial resources! Some may say it is unrealistic to expect everyone to do this. What if only 1/3 of the members of each church did this? I believe revival would come to such a church in a matter of months. Revival would come without the church having to start any new programs, build any new buildings or hire any new staff members. It would come as a result of the hearts of individual members being revived.
As 2015 draws to a close, perhaps it is time for us to focus on reviving the church by experiencing personal spiritual revival ourselves. Let us pray together toward that end.
Dr. Terry W. Dorsett has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at: