Monday, May 21, 2018

When a Church Loses Its Soul and the Shekinah Is Gone

Green Lake Christian Conference Center, Wisconsin

The soul of a church is the presence of God. God is the core. God is the sun. The church is the planet that orbits around him.

Ruth Haley Barton writes to pastors and Christian leaders about the possibility of gaining the world of ministry success and losing your own soul in the middle of it all. "If Jesus were speaking to us today, he might... point out that when leaders lose their souls, so do the churches and organizations they lead." (Barton, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership: Seeking God in the Crucible of Ministry, p. 13)

Years ago Linda and I took our boys to Washington, D.C. One of the highlights for me was visiting the Church of the Savior and hearing Gordon Cosby speak. Cosby was a spiritual giant, especially in championing Jesus-led social justice issues (yes, the Jesus-life is more than feelings). Cosby writes this:

“Soul slips away easily from a church or an institution. You may go to any of these places and find that the Spirit has departed and the Shekinah is gone. . . . When a local church loses its soul it begins to slip into mediocrity and is unable to give life. The average person doesn’t even know when a church begins to lose its soul. It takes unusual deeper wisdom to see it, and then when we see it, it is costly beyond words to retrieve it.” (Quoted in Ib.)

Let us return to His Presence.