Is the Church the Hope of the World?
Dr. James Emery WhiteJames Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, North Carolina; President of Serious Times, a ministry which explores the intersection of faith and culture (www.serioustimes.org); and ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture on the Charlotte campus of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Dr. White holds the B.S., M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees, along with additional work at Vanderbilt University and Oxford University. He is the author of over a dozen books.
- 2011 Sep 01
We had a volunteer celebration this past Sunday night for children’s ministry volunteers. One of the challenges brought by our children’s ministry staff to the volunteers was to take time during their devotions, at some point, and write a reflection on why they believed the church was the hope of the world - and specifically, in a child’s life.
The goal was to have them spend time reflecting on why their investment of time and energy matters so very much. To know it deeply, viscerally, and not just on a surface level.
One of the volunteers wrote the following words. As I read them, I couldn’t help wondering: is the church really the hope of the world?
This was her answer:
So this morning, I asked God to speak to me and answer for me; Is the church the hope of the world? I was immediately a mess.
CS Lewis writes, “The church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply, a waste of time. God became Man for no other purpose. It is even doubtful, you know, whether the whole universe was created for any other purpose.”
God is saving the lost through Meck, I know because I was lost, very lost.
Ephesians 2: 3-10 spoke to my heart on this, this morning....
“All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of our flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved - and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God- not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.”
How do I know the church is the hope of the world? I see it in my own life, in my own testimony and in the living testimony of my family.
When I came to Meck, I came alone, as a single parent, unchurched, a non-believer, invited by a friend of my mother's, never married, living in a mess of life…Slowly God moved in my life as I sat, week in, week out at Meck just listening and just thinking.
God first came into my heart and then radically changed it.
[My child’s father] and I began to attend together, really date, and then were married within the year.
The first time I ever read the bible was in response to a "take home" from MecKidz.
The first time [my husband] and I prayed together was in response to a prompting from [my husband], brought on by a message we heard at Meck.
The first time we served together was in response to a message we heard at Meck.
The first time we committed our lives together to Christ as a family, and agreed to truly let him be leader was in a response to a message we heard at Meck.
More recently, the decision to give, what in reality is our entire weekend, to the cause of Christ, through the building of his church at [Meck’s Lake Norman campus] was in response to a message at Meck.
We started a small group this way, I was baptized this way, invite our friends this way, and the list could go on, and on.....God works through the church, …
How do I know, I live it!
Is the church the hope of the world?
She reminded me of the answer.
James Emery White
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