The church is an interesting thing. I’ve spent the last 19 years serving the church full-time in a myriad of ministry roles. During those years I have found reason to celebrate, laugh, rejoice, cry, mourn and even at times hide. I’ve been amazed in recent years at how many people are frustrated and aggravated with the church. I constantly hear the voices of those who tell me all the problems and issues with the church. The reasons that they believe it’s in trouble and decline. I hear them describe for me what the church should look like and what it should be. In many ways they paint a bleak and dire picture of the church. One that would leave most of us convinced that the church’s best days are behind her but recently I found something very different.
Just two weeks ago I returned from a mission trip in Orlando, Florida with 41 college students. The bus ride was brutal (18+ hours) but the trip itself was amazing. I have never been so impressed with 41 students in my life. They worked hard and did so with a smile on their faces. They served faithfully at crazy hours. They roofed, painted, worked on computers, talked and ate with hurting people, cleaned, built fences, put up mail boxes, raked, and did countless other things to serve the people of Orlando. Never once in the 10 days did I hear them complain or gripe. Instead, they gladly and joyfully served as the hands and feet of Christ.
I know that there are those who find reason to be concerned for the future of the church, but I walked away from this trip with a greater sense of hope than I’ve ever had. I really believe that the future of the church is bright. The church’s best days really are in front of her. She’s in good hands. Oh, the church will look different. They won’t lead as we have. These young men and women will reshape and remake the church into something that is more effective and more powerful than what we’ve been able to do. They will change the world in ways that we never dreamed or imagined, and the exciting thing to me is that I get to be a part of it.
I have to tell you, that if you think the church is in trouble you might want to find the chance to serve with young men and young women that are radically changing the world with the love of Christ. These young men and young women will change the world and they’ll change how you view the future of the church.