Urgency, Chapter 2, U-turn Church

This summary is primarily a series of significant (to me) quotes from the book.

U-turn churches have a sense of urgency that moves them out of the status quo and Beyond the “same old, same old” mindset.

“We all know that not much happens until something becomes urgent. People don’t usually worry about their health until their doctor tells them there is something significantly wrong with them. Then they are quick to seek a solution.”

Fear induced urgency

“When we examined our church, the urgency I felt was the catalyst that got me moving, praying harder, studying more, and leading smarter as we sought ways to turn our church around, because we were facing a very difficult future. If you are reading this, you have to wrestle with your own degree of urgency. Examine your church and ask,

  • “what does our future look like?”
  • “what do we want it to look like?”
  • “do we have a sense of urgency for the future of our church?”
  • “what is my part in seeing change come about?”

Internal urgency

“Take Your church’s pulse. Start by looking at the number of people in your church. When I consult with churches, someone always says, “we don’t care about numbers; we’re not one of those number counting churches.” When I hear that, I feel bad because numbers are actually one of the ways for a church to discover their most urgent needs.”

“The bottom line is that numbers do matter. Numbers can create a sense of urgency. Those numbers could represent growth, and that would give the body of Christ, the church, the desire to deal with the issues resulting from the growing numbers.”

External urgency

“While I believe it is important for a u-turning church to examine their numbers, there is a greater purpose in doing so then simply seeing growth or decline. There’s a spiritual urgency to assessing numbers because those numbers represent Souls that are or could be transformed in Christ for eternity. It’s not so much how we get there, but that we get there, period. Bill Hall says it well: “

the traditional church is talking out of both sides of its mouth, giving a hearty Amen to the Great Commission and an entrenched no to the changes required.””

“In Matthew 24 verses 45 and 46, Jesus teaches that the church must be ready for his return:”

“who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose Master finds him doing so when he returns.”

“Part of the urgency in a church is to become aware of what is at stake in the gospel message for every person: to realize that Jesus Christ is coming again someday. … … … A U-turn Church understands the compelling need to share the message of Heaven and Hell and is fully convinced that someone who doesn’t know Christ is facing an eternity without Christ.”

“When there’s a newfound urgency, things happen. I think of the story of Jonah. The Lord said to Jonah, “go to Nineveh and preach, speak and witness.” He didn’t think the people were worth it and chose to rebell. He ran from God and took a ship headed away…  He was thrown overboard and swallowed by a giant fish. Inside the fish he cried out to the Lord with a whole new sense of urgency. He finally realized what was at stake. He saw how important the people of Nineveh were to God. He realized he had to ask a task to do for the Lord and he must do it.”

New and improved?

“People outside the church will say the old church didn’t work for them but they would consider something new. New is good.”

“A word of warning: new does not necessarily mean “improved.” Just because it’s new doesn’t mean it is God’s plan for you or even that it is right. Make sure the new is biblically sound. Make sure you have prayed through it before you adopt it.”

The urgency to seek outside resources

“The church that understands urgency is a church that is always seeking to learn from others how to expand the kingdom of God. The leaders of these churches are reading books like this one, learning how to grow and how to reach those who are far from God. These leaders attend interactive conferences, visit other churches to see how they do things, always wrestling with the best way to reach people with the message of Jesus Christ.”

The urgency of communication

“After you’ve looked at and wrestled with personal priorities, the priorities of your church, and our Collective Eternal priority, the next priority to look at is communicating the urgency of getting the message out. This communication begins in the Pulpit. We began by doing a series of messages about reaching beyond our immediate group of believers. How do we reach lost people around us? What is the call in the scriptures? We looked at the book of Acts, the story of Jonah, the call of Christ to go into all the world, and sought to educate our people through the preaching of the word about God of God about what our focus should be.”

“Then we moved to fervent prayer. We invited the church into concentrated prayer for the Lost. We had days of fasting and prayer for upcoming events in the church, praying that people from outside the kingdom of Christ would come. We gathered and prayed and small groups, asking people to wrestle with the urgent need before us.”

“We communicated through emails to the congregation, asking them to pause and pray for our upcoming series, giving them specific things to pray for.”

From Fear induced urgency to fruitful urgency

“God has been introducing new things since the foundations of the Earth. When I see new technology, or even new songs for worship, I see God behind it, making all things new.”

“The church will be faced with new things until the final new thing happens. That ultimate new thing is when Christ returns. God is saving his big finale for that day. 

“Until that day the church celebrates what God is doing. He is using his church to bring new life and ultimate glory to his name.”

Conclusion

“When a church feels a sense of urgency they will change. They will seek to learn from others how to make a difference. Often churches say they want to grow, but are reluctant to embrace the changes necessary to make it happen. To them, it is not urgent. “

“sense of urgency moves me to change, to pray, to do…”

Discussion questions

What do you sense this congregation is currently urgent about?

How close is that urgency to an urgency about getting people into restored relationship with God?

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