There are a lot of questions asked by the churches today, especially “where are all the people?” Church attendance has decreased across the majority of mainline denominations and even the non-denominational churches as well. While asking “where did everybody go?” is a good question, it is not the most important one.
The pivotal question of the day in the church is this. Why do we exist? Why do we matter? What would the community miss if we just closed? Why church? And recent news shows us the answer.
A mass shooting in Alexandria, Virginia
A mass shooting in San Francisco
Terrorist attacks in London
Terrorist attacks in Iran
Ongoing conflict in Syria
And I haven’t gotten started on the ongoing issues of world hunger (including here in the U.S.), homelessness and lack of clean water, not to mention the shootings that have occurred without the huge headlines.
Where does the church fit into this?
The church is the most unique institution on the planet. We are not just another charitable institution or NGO. We are not another social services agency. We are not another club or organization to belong to. We are the church, and the church is the most generous institution on the earth. The church is the most forgiving institution on earth. The church is the most transforming institution on earth. The church is the most loving institution on earth. Or we are called to be.
Yes we sometimes mess up. Yes we sometimes put inward needs over the outreach of Jesus. But we try. We try to follow the teachings of Jesus. And when we do – when we love our neighbor as ourselves, we:
Feed the hungry
Clothe the naked
Visit the imprisoned
Heal the sick
Forgive the sin
We are the church. It is our call to go out into all the world and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and to teach everything Jesus has commanded us to do. And when we follow His commission, people change. Even people inclined to use violence on others.
Rise up O Church of God – band together and love one another. Love your neighbors. Love the stranger. Create places of peace and joy. And let’s change the world.
Grace and Peace,