RENEWAL JOURNAL 2:
Heart of Fire by Barry Chant,
The Spirit in the Church by Adrian Commadeur,
Streams of Renewal by Robert Bruce (ed),
Word and Spirit by Alison Sherington,
Living in the Spirit by Geoff Waugh,
Reviews of the Renewal Journal by Lewis Born and James Haire
EDITORIAL: “I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH”
Jesus is totally committed to radical church growth. He promised to build his church. He is still doing that – in astounding ways. We can co-operate with him as he works in us and through us.
The famous revivalist, Reuben A. Torrey, reported on moves of God’s Spirit in his time early this century. We can pray and participate in this in our day. Here is Torrey’s comment. God can do this for your church
The very first sermon I preached as pastor of Moody Church, Chicago, was on prayer. As I drew my address to a close I said something like this:
‘Beloved brethren and sisters, how glad it would make your new pastor if he knew that some of you people sat up late every Saturday evening and rose early every Sunday morning to pray for their minister.’
Those honest souls took me at my word. What was the result? When I took the pastorate, the church (which seats about 2,200 in comfort) had never been filled above the main auditorium and the galleries had never been opened. But God heard prayer, and in a few weeks the place was packed.
But that was not the best of it. The power of God fell, and from that day till I left America, there was never a single Sunday without conversions. I don’t believe that there has been a single day in the whole of the ten years that have since passed without somebody being converted in or about that building.
You say, ‘That must have been remarkable preaching!’ Not at all. I was away five months in almost every year, but the work went on.
What God did for that church, he can do for yours. Pray without ceasing. Pray and believe. Pray and obey.
Thank you for your interest in this Renewal Journal. Many people have found it timely and helpful.
A minister in Ulverstone, Tasmania, wrote saying how appropriate the Journal was because the Lord is moving in that area in ways described in the Journal.
A man in Wangaratta, Victoria, noted that the Renewal Journal ‘has come at just the right time when there are stirrings of the Spirit in our own area after a long dry spell.’
A lady from the Atherton Tablelands in North Queensland wrote: ‘I believe the Lord is awakening his people because everyone I talk to has the same urgency about prayer in the churches. Many who have been sitting still for years are beginning to blossom and are encouraged and growing more than they have for twenty years in a short space of time. People are returning to the churches of their own accord – not through being witnessed to, but because the Lord is drawing them. This can only be because God’s people are praying and this is enabling the Holy Spirit to work.’
A man in Brisbane was so interested in the Renewal Journal he bought 50 copies to sell at meetings. He sold them all.
A group in Adelaide has been distributing the Journals at meetings.
These people all requested bulk orders of the Journal so they could pass copies on to their friends.
We encourage you to do the same. That will help us keep the Renewal Journal afloat, for we need more subscribers for this new journal. Friends telling friends are our best advertising.
You can still obtain copies of the first issue, on revival. It has struck a strong chord for many people.
This second issue explores church growth. Andrew Evans describes the place of prayer in a church that grew from 150 to 3,500 people. Jack Frewen-Lord, Cindy Pattishall-Baker and Dean Brookes all report on significant growth in Uniting Churches. John McElroy outlines vital leadership principles in growing churches. Stuart Piggin gives an overview of local revivals in Australia and Trevor Faggoter tells the story of one of these. David Wang tells of revival growth in Asia, and I comment on the astounding church growth in the world today.
I’ve been encouraged by reports of people who have started prayer groups for revival since reading the first issue of this journal. The example of people giving one day a month for prayer and fasting, described in this issue by Andrew Evans, has been taken up by more churches. One young man in Brisbane heard of this and asked his minister if he could organize it in their church. He promptly gathered a list of over 31 people who would pray and fast for their church and for revival one day a month. Now they have someone doing that every day of each month.
Stuart Piggin’s article in this issue tells of over 6,000 Anglicans in Sydney now gathering regularly to pray for revival.
Not only are more people praying than ever before, but there are now reports of the Spirit of God moving more strongly in individuals and in churches, such as the reports at the beginning of this editorial. In church services and prayer meetings whole groups of people are being touched afresh by God. Some groups now report strong impacts of the Spirit in people’s lives like we saw in the early seventies. Many are renewed. Many saved. Many have visions or are overwhelmed by the Spirit.
Hoist your sail! Fresh winds blow across the land now.
(c) Renewal Journal 2: Church Growth (1993, 2011)
Reproduction is allowed with the copyright intact with the text.
Now available in updated book form (republished 2011)