Church Experiments: The Awakening Part 2

alarm clock…this is part two in a series.  Click here for part 1.

Staff Awakening

December, 2008. There were seven adults and six children involved.  All seven committed to the practices in Part 1 and the kids participated in limited ways.  Each person also gave up something they enjoy for the entire 29 days.

During this time we became like a family. Particularly important were the daily phone calls and the shared meals. Conflicts arose after a couple of weeks between people who had never been in conflict before. This was good. In every case it led to deeper relationship. Almost every member of the group commented on personal problems they usually had that were not present during the Awakening. The experience was a mountaintop and spiritual high point.

At the end most of the group was excited to continue in some way. We decided to have meals together once a month and to call each other occasionally. We all agreed to this, but it never happened. Our relationships went back from being like family to friends and co-workers. Once the required discipline and commitment was taken away, all the shared practices and the community that was formed by them evaporated.

Youth Awakening

February, 2009. Seven youth and five leaders committed to do the awakening.

As with the staff the experience created a sense of unity, purpose and seeking after God together. It took longer for this to happen, but by the third week and especially after the retreat everyone in the group felt a real sense of belonging.

This Awakening was much more work for the leaders than the first had been. By the end almost everyone was excited and positive about the experience, including parents. However, before it began there was resistance both from parents and youth over the idea. This was overcome through prayer, listening and explanation.

During the awakening there were amazing changes in many of the youth. Some who had discipline problems and trouble paying attention became helpful and engaged. Some who were shy became excited and involved. Some who prayed only when I made them began to pray on their own. Some read more Bible than required. The three who were baptized were very excited.

Overall, it was a difficult but hugely rewarding experience. I felt as if I had entered the battle instead of sitting on the sidelines. The fight was hard, but things happened. The changes that occurred in this one month were greater than the changes I had seen in three years prior.

Final Thoughts

Our hope was that the Awakening would create a core membership of the youth group that would be united, seek God together and that this core would then draw in others. Over time it succeeded. This group became the core around which a whole new youth group was formed. The new group is larger and much more focused on Christ. Amazingly, Jesus’ strategy of starting with a deep, committed core of people actually works.

However, the Awakening did not work for everyone. Some people who were very committed during the experience could not maintain their commitment to Christ without that community and slowly drifted away.

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One thought on “Church Experiments: The Awakening Part 2

  1. Hello dear Isaac,
    I see you as a warrior for His kingdom, not giving up at all but forging on, trying again and again, always trying to bring the young people to understanding Christ and His ways. However, try as you might , you cannot always make people understand what it is you want them to understand. As the old saying goes,’You can take the horse to the well to drink but you cannot make it drink.’ As you say in your two pints here , i suggest that these were with the group for the community of it , not for Christ Himself and this is why it evaporated for them when the community was gone. We know that if Christ is not the focal point, in anything of life, then it will evaporate in time. These are your two points i refer to:
    1) Once the required discipline and commitment was taken away, all the shared practices and the community that was formed by them evaporated.

    2) Some people who were very committed during the experience could not maintain their commitment to Christ without that community and slowly drifted away.

    However, i cannot help but say that you planted seeds for another time in these lives. Nothing is a failure in God’s economy. Holy Spirit will revive the right seed at the right time. Your work is not lost, Isaac, not at all!

    I do pray for you and yours, Isaac. Your lives and your futures. Something like this:

    My prayer for you is that the God of all grace anoints you with fresh oil and His precious Spirit illuminates the Word as you read. May He empower you to effectively communicate to others the vibrant hope that He has given you to persevere with your Spiritual walk in which you are learning, teaching and continue to grow.
    Furthermore, I pray that your family and your home be a reflection of the joy and peace that God has promised to all of His children who follow Him. I bless your children, the fruit of your body. I speak life into the fruit of your marriage, your ministry and your mission.
    As you lay down at night, I pray for more than sleep for you. I pray for rest. Rest in Him and arise refreshed for we, the world, needs you. Your prayers, your support, your love, and your ministry that God is teaching and preparing you for are important to us. So I pray that you will take care of yourself and that you will teach all who God puts in your path, all that He is preparing you for.
    I pray He will make you a “Bell Sheep” among His people. Because He can work in and through this kind of sheep to get His purposes and plans completed. You see, in the Holy Land, a shepherd puts a bell around the neck of one of his sheep. One that He knows harkens to His voice and commands, and even senses His movements. When the “Bell Sheep” moves, the rest of the flock moves with him.
    I send many blessings to you and your loved ones, not only for now, but throughout your lives.

    Keep up the good work, Isaac ……. Blessings from Beverly V.

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