Reset, refocus, revitalize
PLYMOUTH – These are words of hope and new beginnings. They grab our attention in the opening seconds of our 2023 state mission offering video. They remind us that our mission as the church is critically important and must always be our primary objective.
Jesus’ words to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3 have been on my heart as we enter this season of prayer and giving. They describe how each of the seven churches need differing degrees of adjustment for greater Kingdom impact. From the church at Ephesus that loses her first love in the midst of an incredibly active ministry, to the church at Laodicea that seemingly has everything, Jesus gives these seven churches course corrections they need to make to follow Him moving forward. Even before the first century comes to a close, Jesus gives His church new directives for a world in transition.
Churches need to constantly reposition themselves under the Lordship of Christ to thrive in the present and live in the next generation. Revitalization takes a posture of constant prayerfulness and surrender as the church listens to Jesus and follows His directives in an ever-changing world filled with new opportunities to advance the Kingdom. The message of the gospel never changes. Its power is sufficient to transform people in every culture, every language, every race, and in every generation. It is more than sufficient for the days we face. The risen Lord Jesus is with us!
Some of our churches are facing discouragement. The difficult challenges that surround them feel overwhelming, but there is hope. Michigan Baptists are praying together and giving to help churches experience the “Reset, Refocus, and Revitalization” they need.
Two words stand out to me as I read Revelation 2 & 3: “I know….” Jesus speaks these two words to each of the seven churches. He knows what each church is experiencing and what steps need to be taken by each church. He provides each one with a path forward.
He knows where each church is: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamon….
He knows what each church is facing: hardships, affliction, and poverty…
He knows the path forward: remember, repent, do the things you did at first…
Jesus both affirms and corrects the seven churches. Some of the words fill His church with joy. Some are hard to hear, but they are spoken to reveal how each church can thrive in the present and live fruitfully in the next generation. Every one of the seven churches has a future, but only as each realigns herself fully to Jesus moving forward. Continuous alignment to Christ’s direction is an essential component of church vitality. It’s Christ’s church and His mission. Totally following Him is the only way forward. Let’s read the Word, pray, and obey. In the words of an old hymn:
Trust and Obey
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus
But to trust and obey!
EDITOR'S NOTE: You can find free resources to promote the State Mission Offering at bscm.org/smo. Resources include videos, poster, flyer, and prayer guide.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Durbin is the State Evangelism Director for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Before joining the state convention staff, Mike served as Church Planting Catalyst and Director of Missions in Metro Detroit since 2007. He also has served as a pastor and bi-vocational pastor in Michigan, as well as International Missionary to Brazil.