When I look at the church, what gives me hope?
Recently there has been a lot of talk about how the church is facing its death. Declining attendance, scandals, and culture wars are continually emerging, signaling the imminent end of the church. But in the midst of all of this chaos a small but growing reformation is occurring that is revolutionizing the way Christianity is expressed in the world. In a day where individual churches and denominations are facing loss of membership and a seemingly endless stream of conflicts, many Christians are joining together and setting aside all of the things that once divided us—race, age, gender, denomination, sexual orientation—and are converging to recreate the body of Christ in our communities and world.
There is a resurgence of interest in the person and teachings of Jesus—beyond traditional Christianity with its complex doctrines, traditions, and dogmas—which is resulting in believers refocusing on what matters most, namely, doing justice, acting with loving kindness, and walking humbly with our God. Communities of faith are becoming places where people from all walks of life can come together to learn from and encourage one another and then go out into their cities to renew the world. If there is anything that gives me hope about the church, it is this: God’s Spirit is doing a new work in our day. He is gathering his people and forcing us to set aside all those things that once divided us. He is stripping us of our privilege in society. And he is empowering us to be the subversive agents of the kingdom everywhere and to everyone we encounter. There is a future for the church, and I believe that this is it.
Brandan Robertson is founder of The Revangelical Movement, which seeks to renew the church, reconcile those who are divided, and reimagine a better world for the glory of God and the good of all people. He blogs at Patheos.com.