They had been in decline for years—maybe decades.
Finally, there were only about 30 people, grimly hanging on. One dear lady recalled weeping in an empty nursery. There was no strength left. There was little life at all. “How long until the money runs out?” they wondered. They calculated it was a matter of months. It would all be over on Thanksgiving day. Unless…
“I just don’t think the Holy Spirit is through with us,” the patriarch said, shaking his head. They began to pray, in earnest. And God answered. Boy, did He answer.
The answer began with a young pastor named Mark, whose wife thought he was surely crazy. “I’ll come,” he agreed, “but only if you are willing to let go of everything. Everything is going to change.” And here came the first miracle–the people agreed. Laying down their pride, they showed they could be teachable.
The church, Calvary Englewood, went through a remarkable transformation. They wept, they prayed, they began to grow. It reminds me of Jesus’ words: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” Soon their building was packed out, reaching the community, vibrantly, beautifully alive. They began to dream big. Not content to build a mega-church, they started training and sending out church planting teams. Then they started sending out re-planting teams, targeting other churches, like theirs, which were on the brink of shutting down.
And a couple years ago, our own church plant, Wellspring, linked arms with them as well. Their passion, contagious joy, and humble hearts have been a delight to know. And seeing what God did this last weekend?
For the first time, all 18 Calvary Family churches got together to worship. We had people from 9 states, almost all from churches that were near death or non-existent just a few years ago. We had teams who are about to go out to re-plant churches in new areas, like Wyoming and New York. Over 500 people participated in the conference on Friday and Saturday.
Over 1,000 gathered to worship with us on Sunday morning.
“I’ve always wondered what revival would look like,” one of the original Calvary Englewood members told us. “Now I know.”
*I do not know the photographer who caught these images, but many thanks to whomever it was!