Rob Hoskins: Communities of Hope


Raise the Future | Rob Hoskins

Rob HoskinsHas there ever been a time when toxicity seemed so raw and visceral? When people in society, culture and politics look like they are split over nearly every issue? Has there ever been a time when the church itself has seemed so contentious? Well, the answer is yes. 

Ironically, these times of anger have proven to be prime occasions for awakenings, revivals and revitalizations. In his seminal work Revivals, Awakenings and Reform: Chicago History of American Religion, William G. McLoughlin observes, “Awakenings begin in periods of cultural distortion and grave personal stress, when we lose faith in the legitimacy of our norms, the viability of our institutions and the authority of our leaders in church and state.”

Church leadership that is committed to building communities of hope that transcend all cultural moments not only will survive these troubled times, but may well be the vanguard of the next Great Awakening. 

If we are to be people rooted in Christ, we must embrace what it means to be a hopeful community where faith thrives and truth prevails. What do the hopeful communities we need to develop look like? In my experience, they are characterized by these six traits:

1. Hopeful communities praise in a world of doubt and skepticism. Our churches need to celebrate the faithfulness of a God who transcends our doubts and sustains us through every trial and in all circumstances.

2. Hopeful communities provide truth in a pluralistic society that overwhelms and produces relativism. In a culture in which truth is often considered subjective, our churches must stand firm on the unchanging foundation of God’s Word. We must proclaim the truth of the gospel with boldness and clarity, resisting the tide of relativism. 

3. Hopeful communities are selfless in a world consumed by self-interest. Our churches must embody Christ’s sacrificial love. Through acts of service, we can demonstrate the transformative power of Christ’s love, inspiring others to embrace a life of selflessness.

4. Hopeful communities are prepared to live out the gospel in a world that privatizes all religious claims. We must proclaim the gospel in every sphere of public life without fear or shame.

5. Hopeful communities value mutual responsibility in a world of individualism.Our churches must foster a sense of interconnectedness and mutual support. We need to recognize that we are members of one body, bound together by our common faith in Christ. 

6. Hopeful communities radiate hope, not despair in a world plagued by pessimism. Our churches must communicate the hope found in Christ alone. We need to look beyond the challenges of the present age, anticipating the fulfillment of God’s promises and the restoration of all things.

By embodying these characteristics, our communities can contribute greatly to our neighborhoods, cities and country. As Lesslie Newbigin writes in Truth to Tell: The Gospel as Public Truth, “The most important contribution which the Church can make to a new social order is to be itself a new social order.” 

Let us strive to cultivate communities of hope that can serve as beacons of light in a darkened world. They could well be the ember that sparks a new awakening.

Rob Hoskins
Rob Hoskins

Rob Hoskins is the president of OneHope, a global ministry committed to engaging children and youth with God’s Word. He is the co-author with John C. Maxwell of Change Your World (HarperCollins Leadership).