The Church of Jesus Christ was created from the beginning to be God-powered. On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples, who were then empowered to be God’s hands and feet and mouths to the world. What about our churches today? Where does our power come from? Below are some characteristics of God-powered churches. Read them prayerfully and think about how you see your church exhibiting these characteristics.
God-powered churches experience church as a divine-human partnership. This is the way Jesus intended the church, his body, to operate. In this partnership what we do is important. What God does is essential. God’s will for us unfolds as we are drawn into this partnership.
God-powered churches make nurturing relationship with God a top priority. All deep relationships involve paying attention to the other. Our commitment to this God-relationship requires that we invest ourselves in practices, postures, habits, etc., that build the relationship.
God-powered churches are equipped by the Holy Spirit. We are not capable of being the Body of Christ for the world without the empowering work of the Holy Spirit. With the Spirit, all things are possible.
God-powered churches live by prayer. Prayer gives the Holy Spirit “place and space” to work in our lives. We will never fully understand prayer but practicing it obediently and faithfully opens the way for God to do more than we could ever ask or imagine.
God-powered churches are shaped and guided by engagement with Scripture. Engagement with God’s word is necessary to do God’s work. God-powered churches open up creative space so that people can hear God’s voice speaking personally to them through Scripture.
God-powered churches require spiritual leaders. Spiritual leaders are passionate about God and live toward the goal of having God firmly seated at the center of their lives and of their church. These leaders have a lively relationship with a God who is always doing a new thing.
God-powered churches take spiritual realities and resources seriously. In the God-powered church as people pray and act in faith, God draws the resources to do what God wants to be done. The God who calls is the God who provides.
God-powered churches live to serve. Church exists to do God’s will by the power of the Spirit out in the world as well as inside the church. God’s mission is the reason for their existence and the focus of their energies.
God-powered churches are places of transformation. Living close to Jesus through the Holy Spirit changes us. It has a transforming impact not only on individuals, but also on families, churches, communities, and the world.
God-powered churches teach and practice discernment. Decisions shape our common life, and HOW we decide things is important. God-powered congregations discover that coming at decisions through seeking God’s will shapes them into being more Godly in their life and mission.
by Joan S. Gray, for the Office of the General Assembly