I love the local church. That’s why I do what I do. I am in love with the local church because I am in love with He who is the head of the church, Jesus Christ. In a day when many look down on the institution of the church and even believers have seemingly lost their confidence in the glory of the church, I still believe in the church and in its mission.
There are four core values that I have about the local church. These are values that I stand firmly on. These are values that I refuse to be shaken from no matter what or who the opposition might be. The first two actually come from one of my spiritual heroes, Bill Hybels. The third comes from another man that I greatly admire, Lee Strobel, who I heard say this at a conference I attended. The final one is my own, though I am sure it is not original. I just don’t know who else to give the credit. These core values are:
The local church is the hope of the world! I just believe it. The hope of the world is not the political system. The hope of the world is not the judicial system. The hope of the world is not in any certain economic system. The hope of the world is the local church because it is the church that has been given the only message of love, forgiveness, peace and eternal life through faith in a crucified, buried, risen Savior. In Matthew 5, Jesus called His followers the “salt of the earth.” That may not mean much to us today but it did back then. Next to the sun, salt was considered the most important commodity of that day because it was the only source of preservation that they had. Often, Roman soldiers got paid in salt, thus giving us the phrase, “worth one’s weight in salt.” Folks, we as the church are the most important commodity this word has. It’s us or it’s lights out!
There is nothing like the local church when the local church us working right! Acts 2 describes the beauty and effectiveness of this kind of church. I have seen it in action. I know the power and effectiveness it can have. That’s why I believe that if we are going to invest in anything it needs to be the local church.
Evangelism must be the engine that drives the church! I believe this and I will not be moved. That is what the church has been called to do. It is our mission. You want to see discipleship grow in your church…turn on the evangelism. You want to see worship take off in your church…turn on the evangelism. I have been accused by some of taking the churches I pastor off center by being too strong on evangelism. Nonsense! Evangelism is the target. It must be the engine that drives the church.
The best days of the local church are still ahead! Some feel the church is outdated. Some see it as boring and irrelevant. Not me! I am convinced now more than ever that the best days of the local church are still ahead. After all, someday the Lord Himself is going to return with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive remain will be caught up together to meet them in the air and so shall we ever be with the Lord! That’s right! The best days of the local church are still ahead! Let’s hear it! Three cheers for the church!