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Reformation, Part 2

I love the comments about what needs to be reformed about worship and church life today. Several commented that reformation must start with the individual. This was true with Martin Luther, and it is true today. God is in the business of reforming, and we should ourselves be working to be reformed. Merriam-Webster defines “reformation” as “the act of reforming” and “reforming” as “to put or change into an improved form or condition”. To make the definition even more simple, we could say reform is “to make better”.

To reform is to change, and we should all be willing to be changed for the better. Throughout scripture, God calls us to change our behavior and to follow and imitate him. Jeremiah 26:13 says “Now reform your ways and your actions and obey the LORD your God. Then the LORD will relent and not bring the disaster he has pronounced against you” NIV. We are not to follow our sin nature, but be reformed by following God in obedience. In Phil. 2:12, Paul reminds the believers at Phillipi to obey and “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”

While God wants us to be reformed, his work is primarily to transform. According to Merriam-Webster, transformation is “an act, process, or instance of transforming or being transformed”. There are several definitions for “transform” but the one that seems to fit most is “to change in character or condition: convert”. This will be the subject of my next blog post.

So we as believers need to be “reform” or “made better” by our obedience to Christ, but what the church today needs reformation? Several responses mentioned the need for individuals to do their part in the body, revival, interpersonal relationships, new music, simplification of the church, and intentionality.

If I could choose, I would probably pick the following three things to reform about today’s church:

1. Genuine passion for God that overflows in worship, discipleship and personal holiness. Loving God with all of our heart, soul, and mind would radically change our churches.

2. Focus on things after God’s own heart, not catering to our American consumeristic culture. Spending time and money on focusing things that don’t forward the kingdom of God is poor stewardship of our resources.

3. God-centered churches, in which glory is brought to the Father, Jesus is worshiped, and which the church is filled with and empowered by the Spirit should be the norm and not the exception.

Thoughts?

4 comments to Reformation, Part 2

  • Micah Freire

    I love how “reformation” has a direct correlation to sanctification. When we are constantly “reforming”, or changing for the better, we see the Holy Spirit’s sanctifying work in us. And by this re-forming, then we see a transformation. I think the key here is that we cannot do anything in and of ourselves. It is the Holy Spirit’s work in us, through His means of grace, that allows us to change for the better. The churches that feed off of the American consumeristic mindset are the churches who believe that reformation is found in a new way of thinking, a new form of worship, and/or a “better” way to “do church” in general. If a church is truly God-centered, however, then the first order of business will be to engage in the Word and allow the Spirit to do His work so that the church can better carry out its mission.

  • Karina Brady

    It seems that we need both reformation and transformation in the Church: reformation to improve our ministries and transformation to set us apart from the world (Rom. 12:2).
    I agree with each of the items you listed in need of reformation within today’s churches. God-centeredness is the most important yet most lacking in our churches. We seem to be more focused on the lesser priorities, such as community groups, service opportunities, and church growth. Not to say that these things are not important – they are – but God-centeredness is top priority.
    One more thing I would add to your list is a reformation of the generational gap in many churches today. It can be difficult to find common ground between the younger generations and the older generations. In the churches that I have attended and visited, age groups are divided. Kids interact with kids, teens with teens, and adults with adults. There is a huge need to bridge these gaps and connect kids with teens and teens with adults, who can mentor and invest in them. I think that churches can encourage this through intergenerational bible studies, church-wide activities, and accountability relationships.

  • Mitchell McIntyre

    Wow I really like the 3 things you said you would reform. Specifically the genuine passion. When I first read it I admit the word “cliche” popped into my mind but the more I’ve thought about the past year I’ve spent in ministry this is the biggest thing that makes or breaks it. The sad part is you can limp along in an unsustainable ministry out of sheer duty. The thing that will bring sustainability to our churches and radical change to the lives of people in them is this genuine passion. This is something that every part of our ministries should be aimed at, creating passionate hearts in the people we Shepherd. lay down things like the music sounding good or having good attendance or having a ton of small groups or even… potlucks (the baptist in me is going crazy) at the feet of Jesus and realize that they are all tools to guide people into genuine passion for God. This seems so simple but I forget all the time to ask myself “how is _______ (fill in whatever event, ministry or task you want) teaching and guiding people to be passionate about God?”. Life change is good but if its done out of anything other than passion and love for God it is dangerous. weather its a church of 10,000 or 10 we desperately need to guide our congregants into passion for God which will result in the life change they need and God desires.

  • Jules Schieferstein

    I love your first point on your list. Reformation must start with individual change, but that change cannot be from the individual, it has to start with a passion and a new life found in Christ. It must flow from knowing God, learning new habits, developing new tastes, not from the unsatisfying ashes offered by the idols our hearts so naturally seek to worship, but the true food, the true joy and satisfaction, that God offers for free, as Isaiah writes in chapter 55. If we in the church truly sought that as we should, we would see true reformation.

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