“I will build my church, and all the powers of hellwill not conquer it.” -Jesus (Matt. 16:18)
Recently, I listened to Bill Hybel’s message for his church’s 36th anniversary! You can listen to the message here. In it, he talks about the progression of his thoughts about the church throughout his life. I thought they were so insightful that I needed to share them with you. I think if we’re honest, we’ve had each of these beliefs about the church at one point or another:
1.) There is No Hope for the Church – This is where a lot of people live. Maybe they hated the church they grew up in, maybe they got burned by a church they attended, or maybe someone in church leadership did or said something that ruined their view of the church. As a result, they believe there is no hope found in church and there is no hope for the church to make an impact in the world. I had this mentality all throughout high school.
2.) There is Hope for the Local Church – People that make it to this stage, I have found, are often people who at one point believed there was no hope for the church, but then they went to a church that was actually making a difference, a church that preached the Word of God and actually made it make sense. At this stage you recognize that a church can make a difference in the world.
3.) The Local Church is the Hope of the World – This is the stage I hope we all make it to. Recognizing that the local church is the hope of the world. A few weeks ago, I made the statement that there is nothing like seeing a life that has been changed by God. I stand by that. In the same sense, there is no other catalyst for changing lives on the planet like a church operating in its full potential.
Maybe you’ve been burned by church and believe that church is hopeless. Don’t give up on the church. Keep checking out churches until you find one you actually feel is making a difference in the world. If you haven’t found a church that you feel that way about, keep searching, God will lead you to the right one.
Maybe you’ve checked out a great church and recognized that there is actually hope for a church to make a difference. Get plugged in! Serve there! There is nothing like being a part of what God is doing through the local church.
Finally, maybe you’ve recognized that the church is the hope of the world. If so, let’s do everything we can do champion the cause of the local church we’re a part of.