Updated: May 29
You've most likely seen news titles like this before. Churches are dying by the hundreds. Mosques fill former sanctuaries. New winery repurposes old cathedral.
The knee-jerk response for those that are left in the church is to do something new, a call for change, and keep up with the times. Leaders are driven by the enemy of fear and performance to find new ways to please the people rather than God.
God has told His people to get back to the old paths.
"Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein." - Jer 6:16
What are the 'old paths'? They are not esoteric, mystical ways of living. His paths are the beatitudes and the fruit of the Holy Spirit that come by repentance and hard work. But the rapidly closing church doors reflect the lack of Word and power over the enemy. The Word does not come back void, so something other than the Word is being lived out in those fellowships. How do ACTS churches prevent the Word from departing?
The 'open mic' & 'earnest section' format in ACTS churches bring a challenge, but the blessings FAR outweigh the difficulties. Leaders should be ready for a good challenge! They should be ready to listen to the Holy Spirit on the fly, not just in prep for the service.
Everyone has a need to hear and be heard. In the corporate gathering of an ACTS church, the Word must come from multiple parts of the Body. Your mouth is not the only thing that sustains you. Your lungs give you air, your fat gives you warmth, your bones support so you don't blob out of the chair. ACTS churches thrive when vision to speak publicly for God isn't limited for the elders, but an action everyone does according to 1 Cor 14:26 . It takes a good elder to exhort his flock into this level of interaction.
"Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not." - Mal 3:16-18
Don't be intimidated at the signs of the falling away & spiritual apathy. Call back what worked in the 1st Century Church. Boldly tell the Father that you will serve Him in the Lord's Body. You cannot change anything if you are not involved. Regardless of the 'Christian world' falling away, prepare yourself to answer the Lord's question: "Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" - Luk 18:8