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I know this post's title is subjective, but I pray it gives you hope. This past weekend, I spoke at a church that has had some struggles in recent years—but it sure seems like God is doing something there these days. It made me think of positive signs I've seen in other churches in the past. Here are some signs I see in churches that give me hope that "God is up to something":
- Increased conversions. Something's usually happening when the church sees more non-believers coming to know Christ and then following His command to be baptized.
- Growing prayer. Whenever greater numbers of members are intentionally praying for God to make Himself known in a church, I must believe that God will honor that intercession.
- God-centered powerful worship. I realize we may differ on what constitutes "powerful" worship, but we can usually recognize when worship turns us more and more to bow before God. He works in churches that genuinely praise Him.
- Community knowledge. When leaders can give me present-tense facts about growth, needs and lostness of their community, God is often deepening their burden so He might work through them to reach that community.
- Gospel hunger. It's usually not too difficult to differentiate between a church going through the motions and a church hungering for God and the gospel. The latter suggests to me that God's preparing them for something.
- Growth preparation. Maybe you've heard church comments like this one: "As soon as we have more children, we'll upgrade our preschool and children's areas." Likely, that church won't grow. What's exciting is the church that gets their facility and programming ready for growth because they believe God will bring that growth.
- Forward-looking vision. Some churches get stuck in one of two ways: either they live in their former glory days, or they hold on to their bitterness from previous painful days. When churches let go of yesterday's pain and see their best days ahead, you have to think that God is working.
What other signs would you add to this list? Check out this post for even more signs.
Chuck Lawless is dean and vice president of graduate studies and Ministry Centers at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, where he also serves as professor of evangelism and missions. In addition, he is global theological education consultant for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.
This article originally appeared at chucklawless.com.
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