Church, we need to hit the reset button
Five changes we need to see God move in Australia
Like most Aussie Christians, I would love to see a move of God in our nation. Just think for a moment about what that would mean …
Churches across our nation would come alive in a fresh way. People seemingly far from God would find him, with many having the trajectory of their earthly and eternal lives changed. The Christian voice in our parliaments would grow stronger because there would be more Jesus followers there, with proposed legislation viewed through different eyes. Just as the lives of many would be transformed, so too would our nation.
I would dearly love to see this occur, but I also know that as Jesus’ followers, we need to position ourselves for God to move. Just as we wait for God to do this, I think he waits for us too.
Just as we wait for God to do this, I think he waits for us too.
Fellow Christians, I believe that means we need to hit the ‘reset button’ so churches across our nation do not resemble the church of years gone but the church Jesus wants to build for the future.
I hope I haven’t lost you by making such a bold suggestion. I understand if I have. Pressing reset on the Australian church will take great courage. We may need to step into new territory. We may even need to change how we live out our faith. But we need to face the reality that churches across our nation are perfectly designed to produce the results we are currently seeing. And if you have been paying attention to the statistics, you will know that’s a problem.
So, here are five changes I believe we need to make if we are to see a move of God in our nation.
1. Engaging in audacious, harvest-directed prayer
We all know we need to be a praying people and that God responds to prayer.
Jesus made it clear in Luke 10:2 that the problem wasn’t in the harvest. The harvest is there and waiting. The issue is seeing his followers become his workers in the harvest field.
Jesus told us we must speak to God about this, asking him to send workers into the harvest field. Looking around our nation, I don’t see many asking God for this to happen. God wants his people to engage in fervently, audacious harvest-directed prayer, just as Jesus instructed us.
2. Making disciples who actually follow Jesus’ teaching
Jesus said his disciples were those who obeyed his teaching (Matthew 28:19,20). Most of us would say we do this – up to a point. But do we take his commands seriously regarding being workers in the harvest and making disciples? Or are we selective in which commands we choose to obey?
Right at the heart of Jesus’ teaching is the instruction to love others – those like us and those radically different – just as Jesus would and did (John 13:34-35). When we do that, obeying Jesus’ commands to go and make disciples becomes the natural ‘next step’ – the Christ-like love in our hearts compels us to share his good news with people lovingly!
3. Redefining what we are known for
If we take Jesus’ New Commandment seriously to love others as he does, our engagement with those outside the church would radically redefine what Christians are known for. Just as Jesus said, we would become known as his disciples.
There are, of course, elements of our nation’s churches that are already doing this. But imagine the impact if all churches and all Christians in our country did this! We know that God’s love has been poured into our hearts (Romans 5:5), but what if it really did then flow generously into our world?
4. Pioneering new models of churches and ministry
Every church is tailored to suit the people who see it as their church. But what about the people who aren’t like that? What would a church be like that they are comfortable in? Just as many current believers want a certain kind of church, those still in the harvest may need a different expression of church.
I believe that when it comes to models of church, we need to be open to radical and different models. After all, God is so often in the new and different, even when we don’t see it (Isaiah 43:18-19)! For example, we need to make space for ministries that are bi-vocational and co-vocational
In addition, we need the concept of multiplication to become part of a church’s DNA – causing disciples to make disciples, leaders to raise leaders, and churches to plant churches.
5. Equipping and sending workers into the harvest
If we look closely at Jesus’ teaching in Luke 10:2,3a, we soon realise that it’s not just prayer we need to embrace if we want to see a move of God in our nation, but also action.
Jesus told his followers: “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you…” (NIV)
To put it bluntly, there must be more to our faith than just coming to church to be fed. Church should also equip us to be sent out into the harvest field as harvesters to love as Jesus does, tell people about him, share his good news, and plant new churches positioned to reach the unreached.
Saying “yes” to hitting the reset button
I believe doing these five things would allow churches to reset their focus in a new direction, enable Australian Christians to live out their faith as followers of Jesus and position us to see a move of God across our nation. I pray that many nationwide will say “yes” to this reset.
You may already be aligned with these changes; if so, no further change is required. But for those who aren’t and who sense a reset is necessary, the good news is that the needed changes aren’t that radical. They are, after all, only what Jesus calls us to do.
I pray that across our nation, we will see a move of God as Jesus sends us into the harvest as his ambassadors, and we become known for carrying his love, making disciples and planting new churches to reach all people everywhere.
Tim O’Neill is a seasoned pastor, leader and champion of church planters. He leads Tailrace Community Church with his wife, Sharon, a church they planted almost 30 years ago. Tim is the Director of Exponential Australia – a community working to see church multiplication stimulated across the Australian Christian landscape.