How the Church Will Shine Brighter
In 1822, the French scientist Augustin Fresnel revolutionized the ability of lighthouses all over the world to display their life-saving light. For 2500 years—before GPS, sonar, and even electricity—lighthouses were far more than a pretty backdrop on a postcard. For ships at sea, the ability to see the light from afar often meant the difference between life and death! But Fresnel took a different approach than the popular one of his day.
In today’s world, as the Church works to bring the light of Christ into the world, I think we can learn from Fresnel.
At the time, attempts to improve the odds of survival for the ships focused on intensifying the beams of light emanating from lighthouses. But instead of working to increase lighthouse firepower, Fresnel took a totally different tactic. He studied the characteristics of light itself. It wasn’t long before he discovered that light moves in waves. He studied the nature of light—how it behaves, and how traditional ways of projecting light lost precious lumens.
He began experimenting with new ways to display this light—not to simply increase the firepower, but to harness the power of the light that was already there. Working with the most advanced glassmakers of the day, he manufactured glass domes that incorporated several prisms compatible with light waves, refracting and focusing them to produce an incomparable brilliance. The light that had always been there could now be seen for many more miles than before. The Fresnel lens is used today not only in lighthouses on every ocean, but also in theater lighting, and even in your car’s headlights.
What better strategy for the Church in this hour! Let’s call it “Fresnel’s Fascination.”
If we want the Light to shine brighter, we need to study the Light itself!
If focusing on the nature and characteristics of light revolutionized the saving work of lighthouses, how much more do Christians need to give priority to the study of the Light of the World, the only saving hope of the entire world?
In 1 John 1:5-7 we read, “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (ESV)
What if, instead of exhausting ourselves by trying to fuel spiritual fire in our churches through new plans, programs, and personalities, we focus on the glory of the One we’re called to share with the nations?
Instead of expending so much of our energy on working up greater heat, “Fresnel’s Fascination” encourages us to work, first of all, at enlarging our vision of the Light.
To revitalize “the whole Church to take the whole Gospel to the whole world” (words from the Lausanne Covenant), we must restore the whole vision of God’s Son among God’s people. We must strive to proclaim a message that “re-converts” Christians back to Christ for ALL that he is—awakening many into true discipleship, focused on Christ himself.
Once we have become person-driven in Christ, we can become the purpose-driven people we long to be for the completion of the Great Commission and the consummation of the ages!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Bryant
Known as a Christ proclaimer and messenger of hope, David Bryant is the founder and president of Proclaim Hope!, a ministry whose goal is to serve a nationwide Christ Awakening. David is the author of five books, including Christ Is ALL! Join the Joyful Awakening to the Supremacy of God’s Son.