March 26, 2009

How Do We Find Our Voice Again?

By Elijah M. Brown

I recently encountered a pointed question from Baptist pastor Bob Roberts: “How do we find our voice again?” This question struck me because I have recently found myself in the midst of a season of uncertainty. Uncertainty about my ministry, my future direction, next steps, and ongoing financial provision. In recent days, I have felt uncertain, and to be honest, a bit lost.

In his book Transformation: How Glocal Churches Transform Lives and the World, Roberts reminds us that it is possible for individuals, churches and even whole denominations to lose their voice, their passion, their purpose, their impact. In the midst of consumerism, size, success and megamania, intimacy all too often gives out to religion and we become lost in the midst of busyness and clamoring culture. How do we find our voice again?

Engage personal transformation. There is no substitute for intimacy with Christ; individual and corporate cries of prayer and listening that are honest, desperate and soulful; and authenticity to God’s Word. When I have lost my voice I know of no other substitute than regular and honest prayer that asks, “Lord, would you renew and transform my vision and passion?”

Pursue cultural transformation. As Roberts notes, “Converts grow a church, but disciples change the world.” Our divine commission is to begin building God’s Kingdom today in every structure, every government, every urban center, every location, every church. I hunger for a renewed corporate vision of millions of Christians living the Gospel in an approach that moves beyond information, condemnation, and even conversion. What is needed is transformation. What if our standard for measurement was the degree that individuals and cultures had been transformed?

Remember the Kingdom. The Kingdom of God is almost always bigger than we imagine. It is bigger than our own spirituality, bigger than our own churches, and, yes, even bigger than our own denomination. Millions of individuals are for the first time calling out to Christ. The Church is exponentially exploding in every corner of the globe. We are living in the midst of a great – some even say the greatest – revival in history and it’s not located in Europe or the United States. Today’s great revival leaders are primarily our brothers and sisters in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Whenever I feel lost I remember that the Kingdom of God is itself never lost. The Gospel is loosed and is sweeping across the geographies of Asia, Africa and Latin America. When I feel personally lost, I remember it’s a Kingdom, God is at work, and then with humility I ask for the privilege to join Him where He is moving.

(Bob Roberts, Jr. Transformation: How Glocal Churches Transform Lives and the World. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996)

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