Yes, we are living in difficult economic times, this is unquestioned. But is the Church in troubled times? Or maybe the better question is how do we know if the Church is in troubled times? Let me answer a few ways, but all of which are completely independent of economic hardship, or the cultural issues we may face in any given community.
1- Is Christ being preached? When the Church moves away from the message of the cross, troubled times are upon us. When the Church feels the need to be “relevant” over being “right” we’ve headed down a dangerous road. We are only as “right” as we keep Jesus central in the teaching of the Church. In a time when messages abound for “recovery” and “bailout”, our message rings constant and hopeful.
2- Are people being cared for? When the Church moves away from the “one-anothers”, troubled times are upon us. If people start looking out for themselves, keeping back for themselves, and trusting in their own resources rather than the limitless resources of God, trouble is upon us. We are never, never called to hold back from giving to others, even when we have needs perhaps going unmet. This is a time where the Church gets to stand out as very different from the messages of the day.
3- Is the Church moving forward in its Mission? When the Church hesitates, or stops reaching out, troubled times are upon us. We are called to the Great Commission, period. And the reality of Church History is that often times her mission advanced greatly when troubled times were upon her. So if anything, these days should be rich mission-directed times for the Gospel to advance through the Bride to the World.
Let’s not change our message, stop our giving to others, or falter in pushing the mission forward. This is faith in action, trusting God over trusting men, and being influencers of our culture, not scared of it!
Join me in the Mission,