Jesus is Lord of the Church so be not dismayed! Since several have inquired about my thoughts about the future of the church I thought I would offer an encouraging word. I think it important in an Ephesians 4 mindset for us to build one another up as the body of Christ.
So let me give you a list of what fuels my encouragement:
-The global church is growing by leaps and bounds and people who have never heard the Gospel are coming to a faith Christ in multitudes. Disciples of Jesus are making disciples of Jesus well!
-The resistance to biblically sound teaching and doctrine as well as civil law that deviates from a historical Judeo-Christian ethic that both Jesus and Paul faced in NT times is loud and press-heavy, especially in the west. Yet the UMC has not gone the way of the UCC, PCUSA, and other denominations, but has stayed the course on our historic biblical and Wesleyan stance on issues of marriage and sexuality.
-The demonstrations of disobedience of a loud few and their obvious unhappiness with an orthodox and Wesleyan interpretation of these have not derailed the mission of the Church to make disciples of Jesus Christ.
-The Church in the U.S. is confronted with the reality that we are already a global nation with multiple ethnicities and the future of the Church is both multi-ethnic and multi-generational. The American Church must awaken to the multi-ethnic world God has brought to our communities.
-Though the fastest growing elements of the U.S. Church at present according to Barna and others are independent congregations who are free to form whatever floats their boat, history teaches us that movements of God are only sustainable in covenants of intentional accountability.
-The Church in Africa and China are growing the fastest and are noticeably undistracted by conflicts around issues of marriage and sexuality. And the global epicenter of Christianity is in West Africa and moving eastward.
-And – saved the best for last – from God’s promise in Philippians 1:6, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (NIV)
This is why I am encouraged and this is why I believe a great move of God will unfold in the west and especially in the U.S. as we see a theological move of the masses back towards the authority of scripture being the final authority. May God be praised!