So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied. Acts 9:31.
That scripture has resonated in my heart and brain for years. YEARS. I will often reference it and say, “no need to read a church growth article or book, the Bible tells us how to grow a church”. I read it. I meditate on it. I read it again. And again. And again. The concepts are so simple. Yet, I don’t see the fruit of it’s simplicity around me.
I have the privilege of directing a non-profit organization created by two of my dearest friends and myself. It’s a God story if there ever was one, and it’s amazing! The Youth Pastors Coalition is the product of several youth pastors desiring unity; unity within the local churches, unity within the community, unity among clergy. We are addicted to unity. I could write a book about YPC. However, I think it’s way more exciting to follow the social media of YPC.
For the past four years, YPC has organized School Prayer Walks in Nash County, North Carolina. It’s a simple concept. We spend four days walking on public and private school campuses in our area praying. YPC organizes the praying troops to be on the campus at the same time praying. It’s wonderful! Truth be told, attendance hasn’t always been great. This is the first year that we have had at least ONE person committed to be on EVERY campus in our community.
If I am honest, I will tell you that the week before and the week after School Prayer Walks leaves me in a funk. It is in these moments I see how much The Church is hurting. If I had a dollar for every time I see someone post a Facebook meme or message about prayer no longer being allowed in schools, I would be rich! But it never fails. I have to beg and plead for people to come to pray over the local school. We want prayer in schools so badly, but we won’t attend a school prayer walk? I don’t understand.
This year we did something a little different and started the prayer walks on a Sunday evening. I knew this would be risky because we live in an area that still has a lot of Sunday evening services. My family and I chose to pray over three schools in the one hour time span. Two were beside each other and the last school was 17 minutes away. As we were driving to our last destination we passed three churches all having service (all three were 5 minutes from the school). There is a 99% chance these churches had no clue that YPC or School Prayer Walks even existed. However, my heart was burdened. I said to my husband, “what if these three churches took their service and went to this school and prayed over it.” What if?
Ya’ll this Jesus-lovin-chic struggles. We are so comfy within the four walls of our beautifully constructed church buildings, I fear that we have lost sight of the command to “go into the world”. As in we literally stop having all these church meetings and go into the community and do some stuff. Yes… I said that. I meant it too.
What would happen if we went out and prayed for people instead of waiting for them to come to church to ask for prayer? What would happen if we went out and took care of people instead of waiting for them to come to church to get their life together? What would happen?
Prior to this week, I did some Google research about Nash County, North Carolina. The current population is 95,000 and 1/3 claim faith in Christ. We have over 500 non & denominational churches in Nash County. We also have over 30 public and private schools. Basic math: We should have over 16 churches per school with over 31,000 people represented for the community School Prayer Walks. GOODNESS GRACIOUS!!!! That’s a lot of praying believers! Unfortunately, I don’t see anywhere near those numbers. These facts are just a mere reflection of your area too. This story is an analogy of exactly what is happening all over America.
Perhaps my expectations of The Church and people are too high? In my heart, I believe my Father has the same expectations. My heart aches for another Great Awakening. One without all the hype, smoke, and lights. A genuine passion for a move of the Holy Spirit. True unity. Signs and wonders. Healing. Peace. Comfort in the Holy Spirit. You know… all that stuff that makes us read the Book of Acts over and over again. Yep. That. I want to live and breath that.