Great means you excel; rise above the crowd. You are a standout among standouts. A name history will mark. You might invent something incredible, win a Nobel Prize or rule a large nation. When you’re great, you’ll be recognized wherever you go, make lots of money, and people who you don’t even know will have conversations about you.
Money, power, fame, talent, these are all things that naturally come to mind when we think of greatness. We natural mind define greatness. Like so many other areas of life, we have conformed to the world’s mindset. Money and power will go to someone else, fame will fade and talent will accompany its owner to the grave.
These things are blessings from God and have value if used correctly, but they are not true greatness.
How does God define greatness? Probably very different than many of us. It is precisely because we allow our minds to think in the ways of the world, that I believe we have a greatness crisis in the church… but there is an answer – so close, yet so far, so simple yet so profound, so easy, yet at times beyond all mysteries. We stand poised on the edge of greatness, yet fail to grasp it.
Would anyone debate the fact that there is a greatness crisis in the church today? Where have the great revivals gone? Where are the churches starting hospitals and caring for the aged? Where is the church that used to influence society and morality? Why is church attendance dropping? Why do people increasingly see the church as useless, antiquated and obsolete?
Because we have lost an ancient discipline that always proceeds greatness. We’ve unplugged from the power-source, abandoned a foundation of our faith, a basic of Christian life, so much so that the watching world sees people who claim to know God, but never see the power of God; they see Christians but not the mighty risen Christ.
The church gets enamored by all the latest trends – what the newest books says, or what the big church on the west coast is doing. We try to reorganize the church to health – we try new slogans, programs and cutting edge technology. Over $500 billion have been spent on ministry in the last 15 years with no appreciable increase in impact. We have more conferences, seminars and books on church issues than ever before and our impact continues to wane.
Greatness. God intends for us to have it, to show it. He is a great God. Christ is a great Savior. The church is supposed to be on earth, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way, Eph. 1:23, Christ incarnate. Yet, as Daniel Henderson says in his book Fresh Encounters “Countless thousands in our communities are wandering in a spiritual wilderness, looking for something real and transforming… a life-changing encounter with the living Christ through His church.”
There is a gleaming door to greatness – a shining door to walking in the true power of God, to knowing Him deeply, to living the life that God created us for. And though this door, this reality is so near, so utterly accessible… very few ever open it.
Our shining door is prayer!
Prayer is the door to becoming like Christ, to bearing fruit like He did. It’s only through doing it that we will be transformed. If we could preach, teach or discuss our way to it, the church would be on fire, but it is only through praying, that we’ll move beyond the edge of greatness that we find ourselves at today to become the powerhouse that God intends.
How can prayer ignite God’s greatness in you?