Wether you realize it or not, as a follower of Christ you are part of a global movement. A global movement of over a billion people.
Sometimes we as a church forget just how much of a massive movement this is. Sometimes we get so comfortable in our comfort zones, in our local churches, that we forget that our local church is just one small part of a massive body. Every day people all around the world gather in huge buildings, small houses, basements, huts, living rooms, bars, coffee shops, train stations, and every where in between all with one thing in common. Jesus. This Jesus brings people together that have nothing in common to unite under the banner of Jesus and following His teachings. Yes this is a massive movement indeed.
For all the critique I tend to talk about regarding the church (mainly the one here in the states) I do realize that the church is alive and thriving in many areas. I have been fortunate enough to be part of local churches here in New Jersey that are full of people becoming participants in the kingdom of God, not just spectators. I have met people that were called by God and were obedient to that calling to move to New Jersey to start discipling people. I have met people that have poured their entire being in their local body of believers, shepherding, teaching, discipling, and organizing their brothers and sisters all for the kingdom of God. I know people all around the world who are right now active participants in God’s plan for the world. And it’s wonderful, it’s encouraging to see Christians actively being lead by the Holy Spirit.
You see, sometimes it’s easy to critique, sometimes it’s easy to just see things that we as a church are not doing well. There is a healthy place for this. However, if all we do is critique people, institutions, and organizations, not only do we become a loud clanging cymbal, we become unhealthy critics who thrive on tearing down and not building up. It is incredibly important that we encourage, not discourage the church. We want to see the Church active and thriving, not beat up and discouraged.
These past few years I’ve had a unique position to be active not in one local church body, but several. I’ve been privileged to see that the Lord is putting pieces in to place for a major shift in the body of Christ. From local churches that meet in a home that are lead by a team of people that are pursuing the Lord together, to a local church that meets in a movie theater once a week, then breaks up in to over 20 small groups to share a meal and discuss the teachings of Jesus together, to churches that meet in a traditional building with a traditional structure. The Lord is actively working in all of these different expressions of the same body. In all of these local bodies I have met people that are not only reexamining their faith, but are reexamining what it means to be a local church, what that looks like, and who are committed to becoming more than just once a week spectators. Yes the Lord is moving in these areas, and it is encouraging to see people coming to a deeper, more intimate relationship with Jesus.
But not only am I seeing the Lord working in organized local church bodies, I am seeing Him at work in individuals. The past year I have been privileged to meet people with completely different back rounds all being completely wrecked by the gospel. I had coffee with a friend yesterday who had a vision from God to use music to bring people together, and to create a community that is unified, breaking people from their addictions and turning them to the love of Christ. I’ve had conversations with people who are starting smaller communities of people to pursue the Lord together in their local churches. I’ve been messaged by people in their 60’s that have told me that the Jesus is showing them that their faith needs to become a lifestyle not just a place that they go to. Talk about encouraging! Church is being expanded all over the place. People are taking their faith beyond just the once a week Sunday morning service, they are taking their faith home with them so to speak.
The best part of all of this? We are not alone! All around the world followers of Jesus are actively living out their faith, being lead by the Holy Spirit to do supernatural things. The Church is not just the local bodies that we attend. It is a massive group of people pursuing the heart of God. It is important that we do not view other church bodies as competition or anything other than brothers and sisters who are equal coheirs of the God’s kingdom. There will be more on that at another time
So be encouraged Church, the Lord is actively working in local church bodies all around the world, 24/7/365 and we get to be active participants in that.