Following a visit to a church on Sunday which I last visited a decade or more ago and noting the dramatic decline in numbers at worship, I have been reflecting on what turns churches round. In the end, helpful though our activism expressed through planning, training, teaching, and performance of ministry tasks, from welcome to hospitality, from worship leading to preaching and so forth, the converting of people to Christ, and the convicting of our hearts that we should be at worship regularly is the work of God. Where is the power of God these days? Or, in the Western world, where is the power of God working to convert and to convict people in the way of Christ?
Following my bloglist here at ADU, I think you and I could be forgiven for thinking that the one question we do not ask ourselves in the Anglican world is about God's power to change, challenge, and transform us! We seem more interested in the politics of the church, that is, in how we can organise ourselves to our own or others' advantage. We might, it is imputed, be thinking of suing the church for having been cast aside as a bishop. We might be entangled on one side or another of a long-drawn out process of suing one another over property. We might be trying to rev up one another in respect of belonging to a political group or committee, or, for that matter, trying to sidle away from such responsibility.
From a human perspective there are good and worthy arguments for working on these matters in a political manner. There have been upsets, hurts, deprivations: what to do to obtain remedy?
But what about the divine perspective? What is God saying to us about a godly manner of responding to difficulties within the life of the church? Might God be chiding us to seek his power at work in the church so his glory might be seen in the church?
In the end, I do not think one person will be won to Christ if someone becomes a bishop by judicial challenge, or a property is retained or obtained by recourse to the courts. We need God's power to work among us powerfully.