My Hope for the Church

I filled in as Sunday School teacher on Sunday and it so happened the lesson was about the birth of the early church. It also so happens that I am passionate about church and all that church is (to some degree) and more importantly, what it could be in our world today.

I love the way that God designed His Church to look so different in so many parts of the world and how even in our part of the world there are so many ideas and interpretations of what it looks like in all its different dimensions. Isn’t it beautiful that God has given the members of His Body, the Church, so much grace to be the interpreters of what the visible Body looks like in every century from Christ until now? And how with the same creativity with which God created the human race He also birthed His Church with creativity, allowing us, His people, to color how church is implemented and to bring our own personalities into the experience.  I love how the Church is an organic living breathing organism that has developed and advanced across the centuries.

Several of the questions I posed to the class were these – “What is your hope for the Church locally and/or globally now and in the next hundred years? What do you think church should look like? What does God say that His Church should look like?”

What strikes me is that the church in Acts 4 was of “one heart and of one soul”. The writer is taking the Greek idea of friendship in which one soul dwells in two bodies and the Hebrew idea of total loyalty and merging them to come up with the unified body of the early church. I am also struck with the thought of the disciples, being “unlearned and ignorant” were very effective, powerful and bold because “they had been with Jesus”. When we have been with Jesus, the externals should fall away and as we move toward Him we become more unified as a body.

Can the community around us see that we as individuals have been with Jesus? Does that transfer into the larger group where the larger community can see that our church has been with Jesus?  Are we living radical lives of self-sacrifice and self-denial in such a way that those around us can’t help but see Christ in a real and living way?

If followers of Christ would truly live out Romans 12, giving themselves as a living sacrifice, having a discussion about how we do church ought to be a moot point. Erwin McManus says the question should not be “how?” but “why?”.  When we answer the question of why, so many of the things that drive us apart don’t matter anymore.

So my hope for the church is this – that she would rise up and be the Church that Jesus Christ the Bridegroom has called her to be – pure, spotless, blameless and holy. My hope is that revival would sweep the entire earth and that His Church would once more be vibrant and radical. And that the world could see that she has been with the Bridegroom, Jesus!

It’s your turn…

What is your hope for the Church?  Would you share it here in the comments?

God bless!

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6 thoughts on “My Hope for the Church

  1. great thoughts! i would have liked to be in your sunday school class. 🙂

    i have many hopes for myself and for the Church. i hope that we really seek God and his presence, not his blessings. (exodus 33) i hope that we really truly understand that to live completely abandoned to him, saying yes! yes! yes! to every single thing he asks of us, is completely worth it! he is so worth it! for me and the Church to be consumed with God’s presence makes all the difference, i’m starting to be convinced.

  2. i think i might enjoy your class as well 🙂
    right now with all the political craziness there seems to be a lot of critizing of the government which i think is funny. WE (not the government) was commanded to take care of the homeless, the hungry, the orphan, the widows, the sick. NOT THE GOVERNMENT. sometimes i wonder if the government is in the situation it is in because the church is not doing what we really should be doing? we do mission trips, we do build large churches, we live a good life, while our neighbors are praying for shelter, food and medical help.
    btw, i enjoy your blog. keep writing 🙂

    • Great thoughts, Marilyn! You are so right. I believe the reason the government has had to step in to take care of people is because the Church has not done what it has been called to do. God has been working in the hearts of our family and convicting us about some of these very things, and we have come to believe that our very destiny could hinge on whether or not we take care of the poor around us (Matt. 25:31-46). Take time to read that if you can. Here the only difference between the sheep and the goats is that one group had compassion on the poor and the oppressed and the other did not. We have been sobered by this study more than anything else in a long time, and we have come to the conclusion that we CANNOT afford to not take care of the poor. I might add here that I do believe that the only way to be saved is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, but according to Matt. 25 we will be judged by our deeds. So while we believe one cannot be saved by simply caring for the poor, is it possible to lose that gift by not serving the poor? But that brings us to something else – if works do not accompany faith, was there a change of heart to begin with? It’s been a biggie for us to chew on. I’m sure others might feel differently about this and we would be open to a discussion. I think we have many more questions than answers.

      Another thing that bothers me is yes, our big church buildings and the infrastructure we are so intent on constructing to support our bubble of comfort and ease that we so love. The Church is meant to serve from the inside out, not to pour all our resources into creating and sustaining our culture. It grieves me beyond words! Paul Harvey once said something to the effect that we have gone from being fishers of men to being keepers of the aquarium. Sad but true.

      Thanks for your encouragement. Blessings!

        • can’t wait for the new post!
          i think paul harvey might be right! and maybe i should clarify; i am not against mission trips …. however, it is much easier to pack your bags, go away, do your thing, and come home and not help those god has put into your life…… like your literal neighbor.
          imagine how many people you could give a home to, feed, cloth, educate if you didn’t have the maintenence of a large church. maybe (?!) the amish have this one almost right 🙂

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