Of revivals and egos
ONE OF THE OFT-HEARD DESIRES of many Methodists is that of revival in our church. I have heard of wonderful stories of personal renewal experiences of many. However, expecting a John Sung-type of a movement is something still to come. Why, you may wonder. After pondering and observing our churches for more than almost three decades, I can hazard a simple theory: big egos have been the great stumbling block.
Inflated egos are symptomatic of a lack of personal holiness. It is even more debilitating to a church when they are found in its leadership. That is the root of disunity and division in the church. Imagine a revival taking place in such a setting, and there will be persons rushing to claim credit for it! Humanly speaking, we ask ourselves: how can revival ever come in that kind of situation?
The truth is that even in that setting revival can come. “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray ... then I will hear from heaven and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14). Revival is not solely dependent on the leaders in church, especially when they are embroiled in petty carnality. We may have such persons from time to time.
However, revival can also come when God’s people humble themselves and pray and seek His face and turn from their wicked ways. It would hasten the process, I believe, if they are led by those chosen to lead. But if somehow the leaders have their eyes off the ball and are navel-gazing, the people themselves can, in a movement inspired by the Holy Spirit, turn things around. It may take a bit longer, because the movement will have to surface de facto leaders for themselves. Think of revival as the wave of a tide: as it increases in strength and keeps hitting against a wall it will eventually cause it to collapse.
It is also true that revivals have also been observed to fizzle out when the leaders overstep their authority and stumble. Egos not only are stumbling blocks to revival, they also eat away at the heart of revivals, eroding its force.
I take comfort in the saying of Jesus: “I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18). Ever since the first Pentecost, He has used revivals as one of the ways to wake up the church, clean her up, in order to present her as His bride, without spot or wrinkle, holy and unblemished. (Ephesians 5:27).
The Rev Dr Wee Boon Hup is the President of Trinity Annual Conference.
ROOT OF CHURCH
“Inflated egos are symptomatic of a lack of personal holiness. It is even more debilitating to a church when they are found in its leadership. That is the root of disunity and division in the church.”