Does the church have a future in America?
In light of the recent election, many people are asking about the future of the church. I have just spent two days working closely with pastors and members of Southern Baptist Churches in Louisiana.
Four thoughts stand out to me. All of them probably contain more good news than bad.
First, pastors and lay people are convinced that the playing field has shifted in America. No longer do church leaders believe the church has an advantage. Actually, most assume the church in America now works at a disadvantage to society.
The only way I disagree with this has to do with the belated realization that this is the case. The election did not involve seismic activity or tectonic shifts. This election simply confirmed what has been happening for decades–America has been a changing nation. No longer do we have a culture which accepts biblical morality and ethics. In fact, many Americans do not have much understanding of what a biblical worldview looks like.
Second, pastors and lay people are convinced the church is the hope of the world and the only hope for America. Most of the people I talked with understand that government cannot bring righteousness to our country. They understand that the church is our hope and we must really be the church.
Third, pastors and lay leaders understand the church must step up with the good news. This may be the most hopeful sign of all. Now, we all understand we can no longer sit back and hope things get better. America will get better only as individuals get to know the One who created them.
Fourth, people in our lost, hurting, and dying world must have the church. As the world gets worse, the real hope will become more apparent. The church should prepare to reach young families and hurting families. Those who are sick need healing. As culture deteriorates, people will look for real answers. In a world of counterfeit, the authentic will stand out.
It is not time for the church to be depressed; it is time for the church to stand up.
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