SAVANNAH, GA – The AAC’s Anglican Revitalization Ministries held our latest Renew Conference this past weekend at the historic Christ Church Anglican in Savannah, GA which has experienced many renewals in the Holy Spirit since the 1700’s. Under the leadership of their new rector, The Rev. Craig Stephens, the church realizes that it cannot rely on past outpourings of the Spirit but requires a fresh anointing for today to meet the needs of the unchurched world around them.
This need makes sense for all our congregations if we think about the church being the living body of Christ. A human body can’t survive on food and water from several years ago. It must constantly be refueled and rehydrated to thrive today. According to mayoclinic.org, “Dehydration occurs when you use or lose more fluid than you take in, and your body doesn’t have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions. If you don’t replace lost fluids, you will get dehydrated.” It goes on to list some of the symptoms of dehydration as, “extreme thirst, fatigue, dizziness, and confusion.”
If the church truly is the body of Christ as we are told by Paul in 1 Corinthians 12, then it’s reasonable to conclude that a local church body that is experiencing fatigue, dizziness, and confusion could be dehydrated. Does this in any way describe your congregation in these trying times? Now the local church doesn’t get dehydrated with a lack of water but instead with a lack of ongoing empowerment in the Holy Spirit.
In John 7:37-38, Jesus said, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them. By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.” (NIV) Jesus has been glorified and the church has received the Spirit ever since Pentecost. We have full access both as individual believers and as local church bodies to a never-ending supply of the Holy Spirit flowing from within. Congregations like Christ Church, Savannah can and must remain “hydrated” continually with this living water, whatever their past successes may be. We must keep being replenished with the Spirit as we run our race towards a thriving church community.
If you want to join parishes like Christ Church in returning to a place of thriving, consider focusing on renewal for a season. Take the time and make the effort to be replenished with the Holy Spirit. Jesus said if you are thirsty to come to him and drink both individually and corporately as a church body. All you need to do is ask. In Luke 11:11-13 Jesus said, “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
And because this need for renewal – restoring our passion for Jesus and replenishing our empowerment in the Holy Spirit – is a need in many churches we serve in the ACNA, we are excited to see our Renew Conference expand into many different congregations. Christ Church Anglican in Savannah is not unique, and Renew helped its leaders connect with the both Holy Spirit’s power and a fresh outpouring of living water, so that the whole community stay hydrated as they run their race.
We are currently working on other renewal resources for congregations to utilize, as well the “Vital Podcast” which will launch next month. This Anglican Revitalization Ministries’ podcast will focus on all sorts of revitalization topics including renewal. Please tune in. Most importantly, if you’d like more information on the Renew Conference or would like to schedule one in your church, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a call.
Here are a few photos from the day!