Yes, I am overstating this observation, but not by much. Paul told Timothy to do the work of an evangelist – even tough the church in Ephesus was growing at an explosive rate. Biblical archeologists conjecture that church was at the time of 1 Timothy when Paul wrote those words, a church of at least 20,000 – perhaps 30,000. An amazing revival was happening. Yet Paul urged, “Do the work of an evangelist…”
Why so? When the senior leader stops gathering, the end of what apparently is now is in sight.
All churches that are quickened by God’s presence – that are experiencing the dynamic of Big God showing up continually – have a unique beginning story. Listen to a few and you will see – they have amazing, one of a kind stories.
On the other hand, they all have the exact same ending. The top-level leaders stop caring about the not-yet gathered in their personal lives – they quit gathering, and what was once vital and alive, dies from the inside out.
Such deaths are not immediately evident.
The branch cut off from the vine looks alive for a few days – maybe a week. Then it becomes evident it is dead.
So it is with the appearance of spiritual life versus the reality of life.