Recently I was asked by a pastor friend who knew we are praying for renewal what that would look like when it arrived. I realized immediately that I would be able to pray for and work for renewal much better if I had a clear understanding of what a renewed church looks like. This summary in Acts 2 reveals to me what an alive church looks like.
Acts 2:42-47 They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. NIV
Five signs of a renewed church:
1. The people love the word of God. They are reading the Bible regularly and eagerly. They love to talk about the Scriptures and study the scriptures together. They cherish preaching and Bible study. They are eager to apply the scriptures to their lives.
2. The people love to be together and treat one another as family (fellowship). This includes sharing meals and communion together. It also means they sacrificially help each other with practical needs.
3. A renewed church loves to pray and worship together. It becomes a natural instinct to stop and gather for prayer. Moments of joy remind us to offer up thanksgiving. Obstacles spur on prayer. Praise as words and songs are lifted up to God.
4. The renewed church has divine power. Healing and miracles will spotlight God’s presence. Like in Acts 4:30 we pray, “Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
5. The renewed church attracts new people to the kingdom.