In May 2015, Mark Clifton and Jeff Christopherson from the North American Mission Board asked Henry and Richard Blackaby if they would write a book to encourage and challenge struggling churches and base the book on Henry’s experience at Faith Baptist Church in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, in the 1970s.
The Blackabys were responsive to the urging of the NAMB leaders and wrote the book “Flickering Lamps: Christ and His Church.” The book is the story of what happened when Christ took control of a little church that was about to die.
When the senior Blackaby went to Faith Baptist Church, there were 10 members remaining in the fellowship and the church had a “For Sale” sign in the front yard.
Blackaby served the church for 12 years, and the transformation and growth of the church was remarkable.“I had friends and fellow pastors insist I would be wasting my life and condemning my ministry to irrelevance if I left my thriving California congregation and migrated to a small, isolated community on the Canadian prairies,” Blackaby said. “But that was not the way God viewed it.”
Instead, under Blackaby’s leadership, God’s presence was evident in the worship services, and the church began to experience phenomenal growth. One of the most remarkable evidences of God’s favor upon the church was that 100 people were called into Christian ministry during the 12 years Blackaby was pastor.
Blackaby’s ministry at Faith Baptist served as the foundation of the book and study entitled “Experiencing God.” Clifton and Christopherson believed that the story of what God did at Faith Baptist Church could be used by God to inspire, encourage and challenge current churches and leaders who were struggling or who were plateaued and on the verge of decline.
“Flickering Lamps” is not only a book for churches that are plateaued or in decline, but also a great resource for any pastor or church, whether they are struggling or healthy.
When the book was published in August 2015, it found widespread acceptance among associational directors of missions and pastors in numerous states. In September 2016, a DVD was released that included sessions on each chapter featuring Henry and Richard Blackaby.
For the past two years, Blackaby Ministries, in partnership with Mark Clifton and the North American Mission Board, has been presenting a one-day conference entitled “REVIVE: Christ and His Church.” The focus of the gathering is the material in the “Flickering Lamps” book, along with Clifton’s book, “Reclaiming the Glory.”
REVIVE is coming to South Carolina in December. Randy Bradley, of Three Rivers Baptist Association, host of the Dec. 5 event at Fairview Baptist Church in Greer, said, “In the Three Rivers Association, 85 percent of our churches are either in a plateaued or declined condition. We can ignore this and hope it will go away, or we can address the problem. I think it’s important for pastors and leaders to attend this REVIVE event so they can be encouraged in at least two ways: One is to see they aren’t the only church that needs to be revived, and another is that they can leave the conference encouraged that God has a plan for them.”
Craig Tuck, DOM for Charleston Association and host of the Dec. 7 event at Northwood Church in North Charleston, said, “The principles learned from ‘Experiencing God’ were a repurposing reality that continues to shape the spiritual formation of myself and countless others. What would it look like if these same principles informed the spiritual vitality of our congregations collectively today? I wonder if the large-scale decline in our churches across America would be as pervasive. I am grateful that we have an opportunity to come together as churches and seek God around these transformative truths, as Richard Blackaby and Mark Clifton lead us to experience God again in and through our churches.”
The cost of the REVIVE conference is $10, which includes lunch and two books. The schedule begins with registration at 8:30 a.m. and concludes at 3 p.m. For more information, contact Rick Fisher of Blackaby Ministries at email@example.com or at 864-380-1089.
To register for the REVIVE conference in your region, use the links below:
Dec. 5, Fairview Baptist Church: http://www.cvent.com/d/l5qfg3
Dec. 7, Northwood Baptist Church: http://www.cvent.com/d/25qfbb