Grace Emerges

Friday, October 28, 2016

The world needs the church

by Brad Duncan

What are the challenges for the church today?  We desperately need a change of heart to meet the needs all around us.  Those in our church community, those in our own cities and country, and around the world.

These posts are excerpts from a full-length article and presentation.  For more information or the full documents, please email me at

Challenges, cont'd

The World Needs the Church

You’ll notice that I’m an optimist when I talk about the positive changes that society is making, such as recognizing that prejudices are wrong and equality is right.

On the other hand, I’m also a realist when it comes to recognizing the pain that many people are in, and the pain that people cause each other. 

I can’t honestly say they are getting worse than they used to be, because they were bad before, but racial tensions are a serious reality today. The recent expression by NFL football players to sit or kneel during the singing of the national anthem, is a cry out against racial profiling by police against black men, and more broadly against the continued repression of people of color in today’s society.

Globally, racial and ethnic tensions and religious prejudices set the stage for much of the violence and terrorism that we see in the world.  Add to that the economic disparately and desperation that lead people to cry out against an unfair world, where some people have everything and others have nothing.  

If we want to end the violence and bring any semblance of good news to the world we cannot defend the status quo, but need to seriously face the inequity that fuels the anger.  Surely the best way to fight terrorism and violence is by tackling it at the source.  We need to create peace.  As the church we have a message of peace, fairness and love that would go much further to improve the world than simply isolating ourselves from the pain of others.  We need to demonstrate that we care.  We need to take action.

There are many, many other areas and ways where people are in great need, and the church can show the way of love to help with that need. I’ve written about many of these on my blog, and you can find numerous examples by simply going to CNN or Time magazine. 

The question for us is how the church will respond. 
What is our responsibility here? 
If we are the carriers of the good news from God, the transforming love of Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit, then what do we do with those gifts? How do we share them and use them the way God intends?

What we need is one thing: heart transformation. 

We can change. 

We can care. 

We can bring all of our gifts to bear on the needs of the world.

In summary the challenges facing the church might seem to outweigh even the power and will of God to redeem it.  Can the church respond positively to these challenges, even if it means serious heart transformation will be required?  Can we re-frame our purpose to more intentionally create communities of people that care about one another and live to bring love and kindness to one another?  From within that place of strength, can we teach one another how to change our world?  Can we glorify God through the lives we lead, both inside and outside the church walls?  Can we change the tide of people leaving the church, and actually draw people into community so that the church can grow again?  

Can we be the kingdom of God? The growing, thriving kingdom, that shows God's love to the world?  Let's carefully consider our response...

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