ASHLAND, Ky. (KT) - It has been a turbulent year. The COVID-19 crisis caught us off guard and threw the whole world into a panic with a rising death toll, social distancing restrictions, and a slumping economy.
The recent protests, rioting, and civil unrest sparked by George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis has proven racism and injustice are alive and well in our country. This is also a presidential election year, which means we will also be confronted with all of the political issues that divide us as we move close to November's election.
The Church was always been an "essential" element of society, whether it was recognized as such or not. But now more than ever, we need strong, healthy, revitalized churches in America. We need churches to grow past their disunity and dysfunction so they can make an impact on the world for Jesus Christ and the gospel.
Here are three reasons why we need revitalized churches now more than ever.
The reputation of the church is tied to God’s glory.
The local church gathers in God’s name and for His glory. Like the Israelites of old, New Testament believers belong to God and are called by His name (2 Chronicles 7:14). New believers are in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).
If the reputation of the church "stinks," so does people's impression of God. That is especially true in a neighborhood or community where a church is perceived as uncaring, quarrelsome, or snobby. An unhealthy church robs God of His glory.
The church is a place to model healthy, diverse relationships.
All people are made in God's image and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect (Genesis 1:26-27). Those who have a biblical worldview should lead the way in loving those who are different than themselves. The church is an ideal place for those relationships to happen. In fact, if Christians can't model healthy, diverse relationships in the church, what does that say about the gospel we say we believe?
Strong, healthy churches are a blessing to the communities that surround them.
In Reclaiming Glory, Mark Clifton explains that one of the characteristics of a dying church is that “they cease, often gradually, to be a part of the fabric of their community.” Conversely, revitalized churches and the people who belong to them look for ways to meet emotional, physical, and spiritual needs within their community. This outward focus allows believers to showcase their reason for hope – the gospel of Jesus Christ.
These turbulent times provide a wonderful opportunity for the church to become the best version of herself. Christ Himself is calling churches all over our country to shake off their apathy and to put His Word into practice (Ephesians 5:26). Not just for themselves, or their children, but for the sake of the cities, towns, and neighborhoods in which they have been planted.
JEREMY COUTURE is the lead pastor at Unity Baptist Church in Ashland, Kentucky.