It was great, hearing Rock Dillaman at Mahaffey Camp. He spoke to those present about the ministry of the Church in society. I took a few moments and typed these words from his first sermon at Mahaffey Family Camp, 2012.
I want to begin this first night by reading something that Bill Hybels said a few years ago, “There is nothing like the local church when it’s working right. Its beauty is indescribable. Its power is breathtaking. Its potential is unlimited. It comforts the grieving and heals the broken in the context of community. It builds bridges to seekers and offers truth to the confused. It provides resources to those in need and opens its arms to the forgotten, the downtrodden, the disillusioned. It breaks the chains of addictions, frees the oppressed, and offers belonging to the marginalized of this world. Whatever the capacity for human suffering, the church has a greater capacity for healing and wholeness. Still, to this day, the potential of the local church is almost more than I can grasp,” he said. “No other organization on earth is like the church — nothing even comes close.”
But notice how he began: “There’s nothing like the local church when it’s working right.”
But let me tell you something that I think you already know: There is nothing more tragic, more heartbreaking, more discouraging than the local church when it isn’t working right. Because when it isn’t working right, the ugliness is indescribable. The weakness is breathtaking. The potential is unfulfilled. And rather than comforting the grieving, it just creates more heartache than there already is in this world. And as I look across the church scene in our own nation, in many places, I see the church being ugly rather than breathtaking.
We’re not even evangelizing our own children very well. Do you know that a recent study has indicated 57% of young men and women raised in evangelical churches — as soon as they get out of high school — walk away from the faith and walk away from the church. 57%. I don’t think that many would be walking away if they were seeing something breathtaking. But I think many are walking away, by their own testimony, because they’ve just seen ugliness, division, infighting, power struggles, personality cults, love of tradition rather than love of lost people, refusal to change, lack of Spirit-power, lack of vision, business as usual, excuse-making, deadness of spirit, deadness of heart. When the church isn’t working — just makes you want to weep. — Rock Dillaman at Mahaffey Family Camp, 7/20/2012
How beautiful is the body of Christ, really?
Make your church the best thing about your community!