Why the Church Remains a Light in a Dark World

light in the dark

8 reasons the church is a source of hope to a troubled culture.

Cultivating hope, expressing encouragement and maintaining an authentically positive spirit are vital to your leadership. People need to sense your optimism as a leader.

But that’s not always easy, is it?

• Discouragement may run close to the surface for you right now.

• You may be carrying the weight of a difficult decision.

• Attempting to anticipate what’s around the corner might be causing anxiety.

Sometimes, the difficult circumstances near us can blind us to the good surrounding us.

And because we devote a significant amount of time to solving problems (a normal part of leadership), it’s easy to forget the blessings.

It’s not unlike a farmer who works so diligently to tend the soil, fend off pests, get rid of weeds and make sure the crops are watered. Yet, they can lose sight that all that hard work produces life-giving food that nourishes so many people.

What you do really matters.

In this article, I want to encourage you with eight reasons that let you know:

Your spiritual leadership is life-giving, and you are part of a divine mission that brings light to a troubled world. 

Action step:

As you read through this article, ask yourself which of the eight reasons are you fully living out and which ones could your church lean into more?

8 REASONS THE CHURCH IS A LIGHT IN A TROUBLED WORLD

1. Truth That Stands the Test of Time Over All Controversy, Conflict and Confusion.

In an age when it seems like the truth is up for grabs and changes as fast as social media can produce it, it can be challenging to lead those who search for guidance and direction.

However …

Scripture has been challenged by skeptics, examined by scholars, questioned by the religious, and scoffed by atheists, but there is no test it can fail, and it cannot be silenced because you can’t silence the truth of God.

There is no guesswork about the veracity of Scripture. But, as a Christian leader, you can count on it as absolute truth to guide your decisions and your life.

2. Grace That Is Undeserved Yet Freely Given.

As I examine my life, it seems like I fall short in some way almost daily, from impatience to a self-focused outlook, and I’m so grateful for God’s grace.

Grace is a gift but not an excuse, and as we have received grace, we must extend it to others.

Grace is at the core of the beauty and the power of the church. Grace replaces judgment and sets people free to live a life on purpose for God.

3. Love That Is Unconditional, Unending, and Confounds Even the Wise.

God’s love is not a soft and sentimental proposition geared toward a warm and fuzzy faith. On the contrary, it’s the foundation of redemption and the unstoppable force of the gospel itself.

God’s love is fierce in its relentless approach to redeeming the lost, including an unfathomable price tag that God himself paid.

In all this, God’s love is not so lofty that even the littlest of children can’t feel it or be embraced by it. When I see my daughter Mackenzie holding my granddaughter Anza the love at that moment is a great picture of the love of God.

God’s love is real; it’s every day and accessible.

The power of God’s love is multiplied by the degree we share it with others. Our churches, above all else, flaws and all, should be known by our love.

4. Generosity That Touches the Heart and Feeds the Soul.

Generosity isn’t merely benevolence or big-heartedness; it originates from a place of gratitude deep within our souls. Gratitude realizes all we have been given and rests content rather than dissatisfaction.

The generosity of the local church is staggering. It’s volunteer-run, costs nothing to attend, is paid for by those committed to their faith, and seeks nothing in return except the joy of seeing changed lives.

And, of course, we understand that it’s the generous person who is blessed most of all.

Don’t measure your church according to the size of gifts you invest in your community or the number of volunteers who help serve alone, but by the generosity within the hearts of all who participate.

5. Peace in the Most Anxious of Times.

Would you give a quiet nod with me that acknowledges the rise of anxiety over the last many months? Maybe even for you personally. You are not alone, it’s real, but inner peace is still possible.

Jesus knew this world would have troubles and promised us peace. (John 14:27)

I’ve experienced life on both sides of peace, with and without. I’ve discovered that Jesus has always kept his promise; it’s me that can falter. I have a part in living in peace as well.

I’ve learned that we have a part in experiencing the peace that Jesus brings; specifically, we have to slow down enough to draw close to him and sense his presence. That’s where it starts.

God’s peace doesn’t mean life becomes easy, we still have problems to solve, but life begins to make more sense. Purpose and meaning are more easily grasped when we’re not so overstressed and living without margin.

We get to share a gift with others who don’t have inner peace.

6. Power That Can Change Lives.

God is the author and source of life-changing power, and the church (body of Christ) is empowered to carry it into the world.

Jesus promised spiritual power from the Father through the Advocate, the Holy Spirit. And we have the responsibility to steward this spiritual authority according to the purpose and plan of God. (John 14:15–31; Acts 1:8)

No one must remain stuck in a meaningless, joyless life who wants to change. Eternity begins now with life to the full for those who claim Jesus as Savior. He is the light of the world (John 1:3–5).

This incredible gift of eternal life comes only from Christ, and he has chosen the church as his ambassador. This is a beautiful gift and great responsibility.

7. Kindness That Has a Supernatural Ripple Effect.   

Something as simple as a cool cup of water can be truly life-giving. It’s often in the small and unexpected kindnesses that the soul is touched in the deepest of ways.

Have you ever skipped a rock across the water? Long after the stone has disappeared beneath the surface, the ripples of an act of kindness continue to travel. You never know how God might use your kindness.

The church doesn’t have a corner on the market for kindness, a good thing, of course, but it’s the church that connects kindness to eternity. That’s a significant difference.

Is your church known for its kindness?

8. Hope That Lifts All Spirits and Resets Our Worldview.

It doesn’t take much to impact a person’s worldview. Even the price of food and gas can change our disposition at a surprising rate and possibly affect our trust.

However, the truth is that no matter the ups and downs of life on earth, our hope of eternity rests solidly in the person of Jesus.

Stuff happens and shakes us up a bit, or a lot. I get it—for me too. But that’s if I allow my perspective to be altered by my circumstance. Can you relate?

God doesn’t change, and the promise of our future hasn’t been altered.

The church is the hope of the world. We understand that it is Jesus who is our hope, but it’s the body of Christ who communicates that hope. That’s us.

Truth. Grace. Love. Generosity. Peace. Power. Kindness. Hope.

This is the church.

Of course, there is more to the church, and feel free to add to this list. But even with only these eight, the potential is astounding and unending.

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This article originally appeared on DanReiland.com and is reposted here by permission.