Revive Our Hearts Weekend Podcast

— Audio Player —

Back to Church

Episode Notes:

These series make up today's Revive Our Hearts Weekend program:

"Who Needs the Church?"

-----------------------

Dannah Gresh: Once a young man approached Dwight Moody and said, "I think I can be just as good of a Christian outside the church as I can be inside it." Here’s what Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth says about that .

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Without saying anything, Moody walked over to the fireplace, and he removed one burning piece of wood and just placed it on the hearth all by itself. Then the two men sat together and watched as the fire went out on that piece of wood; the embers died out. The fact is you cannot survive all by yourself. 

Dannah: Well! That just started a fire in my soul because that is truth! And it’s one we need to hear! Let’s talk about why we can’t survive without the body of Christ . . . on Revive Our Hearts Weekend.

Welcome to Revive Our Hearts Weekend, I’m Dannah Gresh. 

Okay, let’s figure out how to bring the body of Christ back together. We are happier together, don’t you think?

A burden that has been on my heart lately is to see people back in fellowship. 

When the pandemic hit last year we stopped going into the office to work, we stopped shopping like we used to, we stopped going to exercise in a gym . . . we stopped going to church. Now, we are back in the office, back in the grocery stores, back to the fitness facilities, and . . . wait . . . are we back in church? 

I want to share the story of Justin, a young man in his twenties. For thirteen months, every Sunday morning meant sitting in front of his laptop, while still in pajamas. Justin had been active in his congregation outside of Washington D.C. for most of his life, and the pandemic was sort of a spiritual shock to him. And during the year without live fellowship, without community, he started to question a lot—including God’s purpose for him. He felt lost. Can you relate? 

Justin’s story is a lot like others I’ve seen unfolding in my circle of friends, and I am so concerned. Some have just kind of languished in their loneliness. But others have allowed their questions and doubts to take them away from the body of Christ . . . and Christ altogether. The flames in their lives are fading or entirely snuffed out.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth says none of us can be a lone ranger Christian and experience the life God intends us to know as believers. He wants us to be in community, to be a part of embracing each other, valuing each other, helping one another with our questions, hearing one another’s confessions, and holding each other together. 

Now that sounds like Church.

Nancy taught on 1 Corinthians chapter 12. That’s the chapter where there is one body, but many members. She said it’s essential for us to be a part of a local body of believers. Here’s Nancy reading from 1 Corinthians chapter 12. 

Nancy: Verse 21: "The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I have no need of you,' nor again the head to the feet, 'I have no need of you.'" Isn't' that how we often function? I mean, what's that part needed for? Who needs that person? We wouldn't say that, but don't we sometimes feel that? They're just in the way. We need each other. We're strange and flawed and needy as we are. We need each other.

Every member of the body is essential. No part is indispensable. If you aren't there, it makes a difference to the whole. You can't say, "It doesn't need me." It can't say, "We don't need you." If you're not there, if one part is missing, if I didn't have this hand, my whole body would have problems. You don't realize it till you miss a part. Sometimes you just take them for granted, and isn't that the way it often is in the body of Christ? We don't miss each other until we realize there's some function missing here.

We don't always know what the function is. There are parts of our body that I don't exactly know what they do or how they work or why they're needed. I mean, some of those parts that you can't see and don't talk about a lot. I mean, what's the pancreas, the spleen? Some of you know what all those parts do, but I really don't. But I assume if God put it in the body, there's a reason for it; there's a need for it.

We can't have members or parts of the body saying, "I'm not needed." If you're not there, it makes a difference. Even if it is the weaker parts, the less gifted, the less prominent. The Scripture says to those we give special care, special attention. We need each part.

And so as we think about the church, I want to make two points here. Number one: you need the body. And number two: the rest of the body needs you. First, you need the body. You cannot function alone without the body of Christ. You are not complete without the other members. You need the spiritual gifts that God has given to others that you don't have. You need those gifts working in your life if you're going to become like Christ.

You need the Spiritual nourishment and encouragement and accountability and counsel and insight and practical help and comfort in your life that the rest of the members of the body can supply. You say, "But they don't supply it." You're right. We don't do it the way we should, but that doesn't mean we give up on it.

It means we get in there and we pray and we serve and we ask God to make the body more like what it ought to be. We don't just discard it because it's not working perfectly or it's not always working as it should. You need the body; I need the body. We need each other.

But the rest of the body needs you. Not only do you need them, but they need you. The rest of the body cannot be complete or healthy without you. You may think, What's the difference if I pull out? What's the difference if I'm not regular in my church? What's the difference if I come and go? Who cares? Especially in some of these bigger churches you can get so lost through the crowds. Who cares? What does it matter?

It does matter. If you're not plugged in, it cannot be complete without you. It can't be healthy. It needs your spiritual gifts. It needs the function God designed you to have in the body. A friend said to me recently, "One of my concerns is that our parent's generation has retired and pulled out of the church in so many cases." I think some of those older people are thinking, We're just not needed anymore. Can I say—and you decide if you're older or not—you are needed. We need your wisdom. We need your experience. We need your example. The rest of the body needs you, and you need the body.

Dwight L. Moody was visiting with a prominent Chicago citizen one cold winter night when the subject of church membership and involvement came up. This man said to Moody, "I think I can be just as good of a Christian outside the church as I can be inside it." The story is told that without saying anything, Moody walked over to the fireplace, and he removed one burning piece of wood and just placed it on the hearth all by itself. Then the two men sat together and watched as the fire went out on that piece of wood; the embers died out. The fact is you cannot survive. You cannot keep a hot heart and a fervent passion all by yourself.

Have you ever been to the redwood forests in California? I had the chance to go there for the first time a few years ago and it really is—it's just unbelievable. These redwood trees . . . I'm told that they're the largest things on earth and the tallest trees in the world. Some of them grow over 350 feet high. Some of them are more than 2,500 years old. That's a long time.

Now you'd think that trees that large would have a huge root system growing down into the earth hundreds of feet. But actually, the redwood trees have a very shallow root system. Most of the roots don't go down any deeper than six to ten feet into the earth, which is not that much considering some of these trees are 350 feet tall.

You have to ask yourself, "How do these enormous trees stand upright for thousands of years?" Well, there's a secret. The secret is in the roots. These trees grow close together and all their root systems intertwine. The root systems are locked to each other. They're inextricably connected to each other. So when the storms come and the winds blow as they do, the redwoods stand, but they don't stand alone. They all support and protect each other.

I'm just reminded, as I think about those redwoods, of the fact that we need each other as believers. We don't stand alone. If we try to stand alone, we'll blow over alone when the storms and the winds come. We need each other. We need our roots to be connected to each other if we're going to stand strong and grow tall and live long.

Listen to the entire episode, "One Another." This comes from the series, "Who Needs the Church?"

Dannah: We need each other. I hope Nancy’s words have encouraged your heart and maybe given you something to think about—we need each other. God made us for community with Him and with each other. When we don't experience that, there are repercussions. 

A recent Gallup Study show that the mental health of Americans have sunk to a new low—and it really didn’t matter who you are: men, women, singles, marrieds, high income, low income, republican, democrat.

But listen to this: The only group demonstrating across the board emotional stability are the people who are gathering together again with other believers.

Today I asked my producer, Michelle Hill, to join me. Hi Michelle!

Michelle Hill: Hey, Dannah!

Dannah: We were sitting in your office and I sharing with you my burden for believers to be together because . . . I hardly go anywhere that I don’t mention it. Well, I discovered that serving in the body of Christ is a passion of yours too. 

Michelle: I remember that day. I remember you sharing that, and I thought, Oh, we are kindred spirits, because that is exactly the way I feel.

It was probably about ten years ago that I was in a church and I was just going through the motions. I was in there for Sunday morning. I was involved in another ministry, and I felt I'm only here on Sunday morning and listening to the pastor and going out those doors and not coming back until the next Sunday.

Then I ended up leaving that church and entering into a smaller church. It was almost as if God was saying, "It's time to get involved."

Dannah: It's harder to hide in those smaller churches.

Michelle: It's harder to hide. It wasn't just about being a Sunday school teacher. It wasn't just about helping in the nursery. All of a sudden, I started feeling there was an elder involved in my life. If I did not show up on a Sunday morning, I would get a text, "Where were you? Are you okay? Are you sick? What do we need to talk about?"

Then I saw how God was moving in my heart to be involved in the women's ministry and to get involved in the Christian education committee and to just do different things.

Dannah: Let me ask a question: Your experience or feeling going toward a worship meeting before you were involved versus after you were involved.

Michelle: I've got to say that God changed my heart tremendously.

Dannah: We weren't made to watch other people do church. When all we do is show up on Sunday mornings and we watch the pastor teach and the worship leader lead worship and six or seven other people be involved, we're watching them do church. We are not being the body—the hand or the foot or the elbow or whatever part of the body God wants us to be. We have to get involved.

What I loved as we talked about our burden is we need to be actively involved in church—not just to show up and watch people do church. You and I sort of corrected ourselves and said, "Instead of pointing fingers at who is missing right now in church across America right now, we kind of verbally wrote a list that you and I could be welcoming and inviting those people who aren't yet back and involved.

I want to put a disclaimer on this: I have several families who have a family member battling cancer or things like that where it is still not wise for them. But most people who aren't back at church right now, I'm issuing a call for you to come back. And if you are back at church, and you're saying, "But this person's not back and that person not . . ." Michelle and I have some ideas about how you might be a part of being the solution.

Do you remember some of the ideas we had about how we could get people to join with fellowship once again.

Michelle: I don't remember exactly how to call people back to fellowship, but I do remember a couple we talked about because it came out of these episodes that we've done on friendship. That is: Be intentional. Once you are back in church, be intentional. It's not about somebody else reaching out to you. Ask the lady or man sitting next to you, "How can I pray for you this week?" Then get their number and follow up with a text and say, "How did things go?"

Dannah: And actually pray for them. Don't just say it; actually pray for them.

One of the things I've been noticing is that single women in my church, and men, have said that the pandemic was even more lonely perhaps for them than for some of us who have families to stay home with. Do you feel like we need to pay some special attention to the singles, the widows, the widowers that might feel even less engaged? And how would we do that? You are a single woman, right?

Michelle: I am a single woman. I would say "yes." I started having panic attacks going back to church. It was also during COVID that I moved to a new place, a new town, and was trying out churches. I was having high anxiety just walking into a church alone. I just ask people to think about the widows that are sitting in seats or the single moms, the singles, and just befriend them. Sit with them. Sometimes that is what we need. We need a warm body sitting with us. Or, an invite . . . "Come join our row. We would love to have you with us."

Dannah: I know that even when Bob is not there with me, it feels so good to have someone sit down next to me—to be seen, to having someone to do that experience with. Church isn't just about where we worship. It's about who we are with . . . togetherness. It's about praying together. It's about singing together. It's about sharing. The Lord really touched me through that.

Michelle, what about this good, old-fashioned idea that if you notice somebody missing from your body of fellowship, invite them back.

Michelle: I think that is a great idea. That's what we need to be doing. In fact, that's we we need to ask our friend who's listening right now. If you are in church and you notice someone who's not there. Call them, text them, drop by their house. Maybe they are struggling. Maybe they need you.

Dannah: Let's not talk about them to other people, I wonder where the Smith family has been. Let's just call the Smith family and say, "We miss you." A verse that stood up in my heart right now is Hebrews 10:24–25. It's one of my husband's favorite verses. "Let us consider how to spur one another on to love and good deeds." That's what we need to be thinking right now. How can I spur on these people who are missing from the seats in our worship service. How can I spur them on in love and good deeds. 

"Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit." Boy, does that fit today. "But let us encourage one another." I guess that is what Michelle and I are saying. Instead of judging one another, let us encourage one another to get back into the habit of meeting together.

Finally, the verse says, "Do it all the more as you see the Day approaching." I don't know if we are approaching the end times, I know we are one day closer than we were yesterday. As we move closer to that Day, invite one another into the habit of meeting together is going to become more and more critical. Let's do it. Let's invite one another to meet together.

Michelle: I hear a theme in those verses. It goes right along with the songs played at the top of our episode today . . . "We're Better Together." Because where two or three are gathered, He is there too. We're better together. We're stronger together.

Dannah: Better together. Thanks Michelle.

Recently our team sat down with Trent and Andrea Griffith. Trent is currently head pastor at a church in Granger, Indiana. But before that the Griffiths were a part of our ministry team. So we think of them as family. A passion of both Trent and Andrea is seeing people gather together in the Body of Christ. They want to see people get back to in-person fellowship after so many months. Here’s Trent and Andrea.

Trent Griffith: I think one of the unfortunate things that has happened through this prolonged pandemic is we've learned how to do things that we never did before in isolation. We used to think that it was essential to send our kids to school in order to learn. Somehow we learned to do our school from home. We used to think we had to go to an office in order to work. Now, we've learned to work from home.

So as the world has opened back up, unfortunately, I think there is something we've been trained by default to think—that I can have a healthy, growing personal relationship with the Lord without the interaction of other people who are pursuing a healthy, growing, intentional relationship with the Lord.

So much of it goes back to our theology of church and believing the authority of God's Word. Really, it goes back to that word ecclesia . . . meaning assembly or gathering. 

There's a pervasive myth of churchless Christianity being a thing. There is no such thing in the New Testament of a churchless Christianity. Being part of a body is essential. We all need each other.

Andrea Griffith: Our church has been reading through the New Testament in 100 days. I just finished reading through Acts. I was so struck by how many times in Acts it would say, "we gather together to encourage," or "after encouraging and strengthening one another together, then we moved on." So to see us all coming back and gathering together to encourage and strengthen has been so life giving. I think we didn't realize how much we missed it, until we have come back and have seen each other face to face and have been able to encourage and strengthen as we have met back together at church. 

It's been interesting since the pandemic, the church was shut down, no one was coming. Then the church opened back up. For us, our online presence really reached a lot people, a lot of unchurched people. So eventually as we have opened our doors back up, those people who were watching, listening online, have eventually made there way back in the doors of the church. So now we have all these either new believers or people who haven't been in the Bible before, and they are coming week after week. And yet, our faithful, strong attenders who always were there, who were the disciplemakers, are not coming back.

So the people who didn't know the Word of God, they are now walking through the doors of our church. The people who have hoped and longed for that for so long are not coming back. So we are looking at this going, we really need to bring these new people to meet up with some of these disciplemakers so we can make disciples. And we are wondering, Where are they? Why aren't they coming back? God is answering our prayers. He is using the pandemic, the shut down, to bring people to Himself. Where are the believers who are going to answer that call to welcome and disciple and walk with them through life? That's what we are missing right now.

Trent: As a recovering introvert, I've got a lot of sympathy for people who are slow to come into community. It's risky. During the pandemic, at the height of it when the COVID numbers were high and there was a real risk in coming out of your home, I get that.

As a leadership team for our church, we were shut down for fifteen weeks. We opened back up in July 2020. Our posture was, we've got a lot of grace for people who don't feel safe coming back to church. We didn't want to shame anyone. We wanted our tone to be right.

But now as we've come out of that, our posture is changing a bit to try and disciple people about their commitment in covenant relationship with their church members.

Andrea: As we are talking about gathering people back at church, we understand that there are many people who just cannot come to church for one reason or another. Whether there is sickness or an underlying health concern. I think of people in our church right now who are going through chemotherapy and it just isn't safe for them to attend. We are not saying that you must come back to church. That is not our heart. But to say there are people who can, and if you are physically able, come be a part of your local body of believers.

Yet, if you are not in that position right now, there is grace. You are leaning into what is available to you. That's one of the things I've loved about the online platform, is being about to get the Word of God into places that maybe it wasn't going before.

Trent: One of the things that I've discovered is there is such a fear that has been ingrained in us. If you watch the nightly news, everything on the nightly news is going to scare you to death. Yet, for a Christian, our highest priority is not safety. As a matter of fact, if fear grips your heart, safety can become an idol.

Andrea: If you're a mom, you are not just thinking about yourself. You are thinking about your kids. If you are a grandmother, you are thinking about your grandkids. So that fear can be escalated. Maybe you would take that risk for yourself, but you don't want to put your kids or your grandkids at risk in any way.

So I know for me, I've really had to go back to the Scripture to see what does God have to say about fear. In Psalm 56 it says, "When I am afraid, I will trust in the Lord." I've had to go back to the Scripture talking about God being our refuge and our rock and our safe place. I'm never going to find safety in this world. But with God, He is sovereign and He is good and He ultimately determines my every day. He determines my eternity. He determines that not only for me, but for my kids and for my grandkids I hope to have one day. He's moving my focus from everything that I'm seeing in the culture, everything that I'm hearing, and putting my focus on the one that is higher than all of it.

Jesus, God, is the only One who guarantees my security, my safety. And not just mine, but for my kids and those coming behind me. It ultimately rests in God's hands. So I have the choice every day: Am I going to listen to the fear out of my own heart or the fear that I'm hearing being communicated to me through Facebook or the news or social media or whatever outlet I'm listening to? Am I going to listen to that fear, or am I going to let the Word of God and the voice of God speak louder to me? Which voice am I going to listen to? Ultimately, which voice am I going to obey? Which voice am I going to cave to?

For me it's just come down to, who do I trust? What do I trust? I say I trust in God who I know is sovereign over all. Am I going to live that out in daily choices every day?

Dannah: I loved hearing their hearts on getting our church together again! Keeping those fires of passion burning bright for Christ!

My little congregation looks really different since the pandemic. We lost our pastor, but have a new one. We lost the facility we rented, so we meet in clusters in homes. But we aren’t less. We’re more! More connected! More in the word! More giving! More full of God’s sweet Spirit. In fact, I’ve never loved being part of the body of Christ more than I do right now. I cannot stand to miss a gathering! I’m not saying your experience has to look exactly as it did. Maybe God was asking us to learn something from this interruption in our meetings. But I know this: he wants us together!
Hebrews 10:24–25 reads:

And let us consider how to spur one another on to love and good deeds. Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Remember that young man Justin from the beginning of our time together? Well, praise God, his congregation has opened up to meet together again. And as Justin stood in his church and prayed with the congregation, worshipped and heard his pastor. He said that this, being in-person, was like a small glimpse of heaven. And being with other believers brought back some normalcy to his life.

Normalcy—that’s a good word to a world that is in chaos. 

I want to challenge you today: If you aren’t meeting together with other believers,  reengage, find fellowship, be an intentional part of the body.

Being an intentional part of the body of Christ gives me a hunger for God’s Word! That’s one reason we gather. I hope you have that hunger!

Revive Our Hearts wants to help you in that goal of spending time in God’s Word. We’ve just released the latest study in the Women of the Bible study from Revive Our Hearts called Deborah: Becoming a Woman of Influence. 

This month a copy of the Deborah study is yours when you make a donation of any amount to Revive Our Hearts. It’s our way of saying "thank you" when you support this ministry. So call 1–800–569–5959 with your gift today, or go to ReviveOurHearts.com and click on the donate tab.

Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s off to work we go . . . Want to sing it for us? Remember the seven dwarfs? They seemed so happy as they marched off to work. 

Are you happy when you march off to work? Even if it’s just to your laptop by the couch. Next week, we’ll talk through working as for the Lord. That may seem like a tall order, but we’ll have some fun with it and learn. So be listening.

Thanks for being with me today! I asked my team which of the seven dwarfs they’d like to be, if they had the choice: Grumpy, Dopey, Doc, Happy, Bashful, Sneezy, and Sleepy.

Phil Krause is Doc minus the glasses and orange-brown tunic. Dylan Weibel is Sleepy. Hey Dylan, WAKE UP!! Rebekah Krause would be Happy! Justin Converse would like to be dopey—doesn’t talk, occasionally makes noises, and seems easily entertained. Michelle Hill said she’d be Sneezy because she always sneezes three times after eating chocolate, and she likes her chocolate.

And for Revive Our Hearts Weekend, I’m Dannah Gresh. (I’m certainly not gonna be Grumpy! Who’d you guys leave me with . . . Bashful? Okay. I’ll take Bashful.)

Calling you to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ, this is Revive Our Hearts Weekend.

The Turtles. "Happy Together." Save the Turtles: The Turtles Greatest Hits ℗ 2009 FloEdCo.

The Youngbloods. "Get Together." The Youngbloods (Released 1970) ℗ 1988 BMG Music.

Al Green. "Let's Stay Together" Let's Stay Together ℗1972 Hi Records, under exclusive license to Fat Possum Records.

“Heigh-Ho.” The Dwarf Chorus. From the album Songs and Story: Snow White. © 2009 Walt Disney Records.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

Support the Revive Our Hearts Weekend Podcast

Darkness. Fear. Uncertainty. Women around the world wake up hopeless every day. What if you could play a part in bringing them freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness instead? Your gift ensures that we can continue to spread the message that Christ is King and that the way to know Him is through His Word. Spread gospel hope! Donate now.

Donate Now

About the Teacher

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.

About the Host

Dannah Gresh

Dannah Gresh

When Dannah Gresh was eight years old, she began praying that God would use her as a Bible teacher for “the nations.” When she sees the flags of many countries waving at a Revive Our Hearts event, it feels like an answer to her prayer.

Dannah is the founder of True Girl which provides tools for moms and grandmothers to disciple their 7–12 year-old girls. On Monday nights, you’ll find Dannah hosting them in her online Bible study. She has authored over twenty-eight books, including Ruth: Becoming a Girl of Loyalty, Lies Girls Believe, and a Bible study for adult women based on the book of Habakkuk. She and her husband, Bob, live on a hobby farm in central Pennsylvania.

About the Guests

No Photo Avaible for Michelle Hill

Michelle Hill

Radio has been ingrained in Michelle for most of her life. This love for radio has taken her to various radio stations and ministries in places like Chicago, Alaska, and other snow covered terrains like her hometown in north central Iowa, and now Michigan. Michelle is one of the newest team members at Revive Our Hearts and serves as Producer for Revive Our Hearts Weekend with Dannah Gresh. She also can be heard on the radio broadcast/podcast FamilyLife This Week®. Michelle has been mentoring young women for the last twenty years and helped FamilyLife create the product Passport2Identity for young women and their moms. She also has a fascination for snowflakes and the color yellow. 

Andrea Griffith

Andrea Griffith

Andrea Griffith is currently a key speaker and leader for the women's ministries at Gospel City Church in Granger, Indiana where her husband, Trent, serves as Senior Pastor. Andrea and Trent are also speakers for FamilyLife's Weekend to Remember Marriage Conferences. Prior to that, they spent fifteen years as conference speakers with Life Action Ministries. Believing that we have no sufficiency in ourselves, but our sufficiency comes from Christ alone who made us competent to be ministers is what gives Andrea confidence to embrace the role of ministry.  (2 Cor. 3:5) 

Andrea graduated with a BA degree in Vocal Performance from Samford University.  She is an experienced communicator to women. Trent and Andrea have five children and live near South Bend, Indiana.