The Spiritual Barometer of God’s Church

What does it mean to 'steward God's voice with our vote, not our agenda'? Pastor Ian shares with us how we can prepare ourselves for the Members' Meeting on 24 Nov.

barometer

/bəˈrɒmɪtə/ 

noun 

  1. An instrument measuring atmospheric pressure, used especially in forecasting the weather and determining altitude.
  2. Something which reflects changes in circumstances or opinions.

 

I enjoyed the benefit of having parents who were first-generation Christians and who never lost a sense of wonder that God had found them and lavished them with undeserved mercy. One of the consequences of this heritage was that 'if the church doors were open', we were there. And one thing our family never missed was midweek prayer meeting. It was at those prayer meetings that I first heard a common assumption. Often said with strong conviction and sometimes seasoned with a mix of sorrow, many among the praying faithful held that, “Prayer meeting is the spiritual barometer of the church.” The meaning intended in this oft-repeated phrase was that as we gather in prayer, we reflect and expose the kinds of changes God is producing in us. Or not. 

However as I grew in my own reflections of church life, I increasingly became convinced that in a Baptist Church, the meeting that more clearly reflects and exposes us is the business meeting, not the prayer meeting. It is often in business meetings that godly behaviour, spiritual growth and Christian unity is put on open display. Or not.

Truth be told, every time the church gathers—whether for teaching or worship or prayer or even for family business—we are there to meet with and hear from God.

In Exodus 34:2, at a critical time in his ministry God told Moses, “Be ready by the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to me on the top of the mountain.” Moses had to prepare to present himself to a holy God.

So how should I prepare to present myself to God in a Members’ Meeting? Here’re some things the Lord is prompting me to do: 

  • I should ensure that I am truly ready to meet and hear from a holy God by allowing His Spirit to expose me before I get to the meeting. If I pray with David (Psalm 139:23), “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Search me and know my thoughts!” I may suddenly realise that the very invitation into Divine counsel is an act of Divine grace. For, “Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false… (Psalm 24:3-4).” I pray we will always maintain a sense of wonder that He has qualified us to enter into His counsel! 
  • I should remember that God desires me to steward His voice with my vote… not my agenda. Just like Jesus, I should be willing to go to my own garden and pray, “Not my will, but Yours be done!” As we each prepare to steward God’s voice, I pray we will seek Him, sit in His presence and offer to lay down all personal agendas. 
  • I should expect that God desires me to expose my faith with my vote… not my fears. It should be clear that I am reaffirming my trust in the God who guides and who will also provide. I often remind myself that the answer to my anxieties is to know and trust Him more. I pray that in every Members’ Meeting, we will show ourselves to be a church that knows Him well! 
  • I should know that our Members’ Meetings will either demonstrate unity and transparency in His body… or they will expose division. True unity is not present just because people are willing to 'follow their leaders'.  True unity comes when people know everything about each other and are still in agreement. True unity exists when a body of believers share one Spirit, have one Lord, one Faith, one baptism, and have one Father of all who is over all and through all and in all (Ephesians 4:5-6).

 

I pray that you would be willing to join me in preparing ourselves to meet with God.

1. This Sunday, every member will receive a copy of our proposed 2018 Budget.

2. In order to facilitate clear communication and help us better prepare to meet God on the mountain of our EGM, I would like to encourage you to plan to participate in a Members' Meeting that we have planned for Friday, 24th November, at 7:30 pm. We will meet in the Fellowship Hall.

3. Following this opportunity to give clarity, share direction, and respond to questions, we will enter into a time of prayer (our regularly scheduled, monthly prayer meeting). We will finish at 9:30 pm.

4. On Sunday, 26th November, we will enjoy a fellowship meal together (please sign up in the Fellowship Hall), and at 1:30 pm we will meet with God and our CC brothers and sisters for this important EGM.