We have just finished one of the most exciting and rewarding weeks in the entire history of Antioch Baptist Church. We have experienced the most energetic and renewing summer revival our church has held in decades. Everyone who was present for those five nights spent under the tent and beneath the stars is still reeling from the spiritual growth that occurred in their lives. However, as exciting as last week was it begs another question, which is what happens next? What will we do in response to our week of revival and renewal? Will we simply look back on those seven days and remind ourselves for months into the future what a wonderful time we had, or will our individual and congregational future be different because of the time we spent together? As I reflect back on our weeklong experience and I am forced this question of myself and of all of us who shared those days; where do we go from here? When the tent comes down and the banners are removed and the future begins to crowd in upon us will anything have happened to us, will anything have changed as a result of our weeklong experience?
For some members of Antioch this question is moot because you did not share in any aspect of this week of fellowship. Like the apostle Thomas who was not present when Jesus paid a visit to the other disciples in the upper room, many members of this congregation were not present for the revival. It speaks volume of the nature of our spiritual lives that church members are more likely to attend church business meetings than they are to attend the church revival. All I can say is, if you were not there throughout that entire week you missed one of the most significant weeks in the entire 111-year history of Antioch Baptist Church.
You missed seeing people from all over this neighborhood come pouring onto these church grounds both for worship and for fellowship in a way that eventually made it impossible to determine who belonged to our church and who did not, because we were one in the spirit of God. I truly believe that since last Sunday morning we have been involved in everything that makes up our church purpose statement. We have had great teaching, a powerful outreach to the community, exciting worship in word, dance and song, the delivery of a solid evangelism effort, and a week of activities that have allowed us to build stronger relationships among ourselves and with our community.
But now comes the question of consequence and follow-up. Was last week simply a series of experiences to be enjoyed and remembered, or does that week that we went through together now call upon us to live and act differently into the future? As I reflect upon our revival I am forced to raise this question; what do we do now, what do we do next?