“Today’s church growth is largely numerical and it is without Biblical or theological foundation.” – Bill Hybels
When I read the above statement by Bill Hybels, pastor of one of the largest megachurches in the U.S., I was blown away by how he described the growth of today’s churches. In essence, Hybels is saying the church is growing big numerically but in many cases lacks Biblical power and substance.
I am sure that this statement is not true of all churches but I believe it does hold true for the overall impact the modern day church is having on society. Research tells us the vast majority of Americans do not believe the church is making a positive contribution to society. In fact, only 36% of adults surveyed believe that the church is making a positive impact on society.
These numbers break my heart. I believe with all of my heart that the church should matter and should be making a difference. By church, I mean we who have been saved and make up a local body of believers. As Christ followers, going to church should be a top priority for us. As well, the church we attend (our local body of believers) should be impacting others positively with the Gospel.
The world in which we live is being torn apart by so many divisive issues. This world desperately needs to see the love of God through individual believers who make up the local church. I wonder what might change in our world if the church really began to fulfill the mission that God gave us in our society.
What if we began to fulfill Matthew 28:19 which says: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Unfortunately, studies tell us that 97% of all those know Christ as Savior do not share their faith. I pray that we will all begin to share the love of God and His Gospel to this hurting world that is in search of hope.
Also, what would it look like if we began to love others as Christ has commanded us? We have so much hate and division in our world today and I am convinced that the only way to turn this around is for the church to really love the way Christ intended for us to love. The book of 1 John tells us that “love is the proof of our belonging to Christ.”
In fact, John tells us in Chapter 4 that it is impossible to love an invisible God when we cannot manage to love a visible brother. We need to have a love for others that only God can give us.
I especially love 1 John 2:20 that declares: “Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble.” This verse tells us that loving this way will enable us to live in the light and truly make a difference in this world for the cause of Christ.
I pray that we would allow the truth of these verses to penetrate our hearts and stir us to fulfill the commission that God gave us to share our faith and also to love others as Christ would. I am convinced that if we could begin to do these things, the church will matter as never before!