“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Eph. 2:8-9
Are you sure that if you could just put the right set of programs and ministries together your church could get out of a rut and experience new growth and life? Are you looking for that step by step plan? Sorry, we don’t have it.
At Flourish, we don’t think the process of church renewal is about any one-size-fits-all plan or program to grow or change your church. We believe that the process of church renewal begins when “a person or church body experiences a new awareness of their sin and need for God’s grace.”
We have spiritual amnesia - we forget how amazing grace actually is. This is what we mean by a “new awareness.” We forget the sinfulness of sin, that we were friends with Satan and that our only hope was that God would rescue us.
Our tendency is to become proud. When people come to a new awareness of their sin, seeing themselves as God sees them apart from Christ, then they can become truly grateful for the gospel and grace of God.
If we think that we’re better people than our family, friends, and neighbors we’re in trouble. God has to break into our hearts to help us see that we’re sinners. When he does that - when we see how big our sin is - that’s when we realize how big God’s love is.
But, if you only get a bigger view of sin, you’re missing the point. In this equation both sides have to rise: both our awareness of our sin, and our awareness of God’s grace. We were so bad, we had no hope, but God is so glad to send his Son for us. When that so bad/so glad equation melts us daily we’re able to brush up against other people with love, grace, and compassion. When we know that apart from Jesus, we could be so bad, when we then see other people’s sins we can say, “oh, they’re just like me.”
In some churches, this new awareness of sin and grace is in the atmosphere. But in some churches there’s just grace with no awareness of sin - and the grace is then shallow. These churches false security has to have a renewed sense of their sinfulness so their joy deepens. In some churches, there’s just a sense of sin with little grace. These churches become critical and joyless. These churches need to have a renewed sense of grace, so that they can find joy and compassion.
If you want a renewed sense of sin and grace we’d recommend resources like Nick Batzig’s “Proud vs. Broken People” from Feeding on Christ, discipleship material from Serge, The Gospel for Real Life by Jerry Bridges, or reach out to one of our coaches to talk about renewing this sense for yourself and your church.