Why I Believe the Local Church is the Hope of the World

Rambling thoughts on the local church. I love the local church, I am in the Kingdom of God because of a local church where people served, gathered weekly to worship in a space open to the public (a church building), fought, tithed, gave to missions, evangelized, ran sunday school classes and small groups, prayed wildly. Yet I get burned out now and again.  Usually it means I am over functioning and then over-judging. Church burnout is real - but also easy to pull out of without ditching the church.  It does require intentional self-assessment and re-alignment within the local body.  If you see it as a family or team - it's knowing your role and leadership responsibilities in that group which helps overcome burnout. Jesus promises to be present uniquely when we gather in regular face-to-face community.  1 Corinthians chapter 12, 13, and 14 along with Matthew 16 tell us that there is power, gifts, grace made uniquely available in the gathering of the church.  So in some ways I think burnout occurs when we think the church is simply a restaurant or store instead of a living body. The local church is first and foremost a living organism.  The organization changes some over time - but it's to support and sustain to new generations of believers the organism.  Paul also uses the imagery of parts of the body for persons IN a local church. Parts can burn-out - but they don't drop off - unless the part itself is totally dead and diseased.  So burn out could mean that a part is over-functioning or someone else is under functioning. One answer is to help the others become alive and function in their gifts.  Making platforms for all members to function. If one gets to the point of death - then deep healing may be needed - and some sabbath recovery.  

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3 thoughts on “Why I Believe the Local Church is the Hope of the World”

  1. I love my church’s history and the people that go. I do not feel burned out by the local church. But I increasingly feel burned out by my church denomination. It’s gotten to the point where I am tempted to just call it quits in the organization even though I love my local congregation.

  2. Many decades ago, I chanced upon a magazine called the United Church Observer, or something of that sort. It would be the equivalent of a liberal Methodist in your country. It struck me as I perused the thing, how little theology or mention of Christ there was. Indeed, everything was about what the church itself was doing. I realized that this so-called Bride had become so narcissistically self-adorning and self-adoring, engaging in spiritual masturbation, it had neither time nor interest for the Bridegroom.

    When I see people and churches (i.e. Bill Hybels and Willowcreek) declaring that “the local church is the hope of the world”, I see that same self-idolatry and infidelity. It is Christ who is the hope of the world. It is apropos that some prophetic voices complain about Churchianity.

    1. Well I think we probably have different views of Christ and the church. The church is body of Christ until He returns again. So the claim, at least coming from me, is that the Spirit makes the church Christ’s body in some real way until He returns. So my claim would be in as much as we hold to the orthodox scandal of Jesus – we are his body – and therefore the hope of the world.

      I have a rather high view of the Holy Spirit as the forming and sustaining of the organism that is the local church – making Jesus real.

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