One of the most intriguing messages I heard at the Willow Simulcast was gold from the mouth of an innovative pastor named Craig Groeschel, lead pastor of lifechurch.tv. He’s recently knocked out a book simply called “IT.”
“It” is about that mysterious something, that transcendent quality present in some people and ministries and churches that makes them seem anointed and effective. Is that “it” a person, the Holy SpirIT? Well yes, but we all have him, all churches have him, so then why do some churches grow and deepen while others don’t? Some have the same approach, the same kind of building, similar staff, identical ministries, and vastly different levels of impact on their people and their communities. Why do some churches get it, have it, and others don’t? An interesting question.
This morning our speaker, Elaine Philips, led us on a journey through Revelation 4, where the church in Ephesus was doing all the right things but had forsaken their first love. Jesus commends them for their perseverance but laments this lack of passion for him. He tells them to repent, to remember the height from which they had fallen, and to begin doing the stuff they had done when they were on track — or he would come and remove their lampstand.
And then it hit me. The lampstand is a symbol for the IT. They were on their way to losing IT. They had IT, and forgot about IT, and were about to pay the price. God would still be among them (he’s omnipresent and specially present in each believer). They were still faithful obeyers. They had good stuff going on. But any fully alive believer visiting would walk into their gathering and be able to sense, THEY DON’T GET IT. THEY DON’T HAVE IT. And I realized my church is in the same boat. We’re doing the right things, stuff is beginning to change, but the IT is still mostly absent.
Good to know that IT isn’t about more money, lights, cameras, and action. Jesus links it to passionate love for him, that spiritually based “collective effervescence” Tony Campolo used to talk about. I want IT. I want IT bad. For the sake of Christ’s kingdom, for a worlds fumbling around in the darkness looking for IT.
What about you?