It’s not the government (no matter which country’s flag happens to fly over you)
It’s not a corporation.
It’s not a service organization or NGO
It’s not even a denomination.
The local church is greatest force for good in the world.
It’s the local foot soldiers in the Lord’s Army, who come together weekly for a sweet fellowship, anointed worship and spirit empowered rejuvenation. Once inspired these “boots-on-the-ground” march into our dark world wearing the full armor of God and sharing the light of Jesus. It’s the redeemed reaching the rebellious; the faithful seeking the faithless; and the liberated showing the road to freedom to the slaves of this world. It’s people filled with the love of Jesus caring for their neighbors. It’s pastors and others tending to the sick and lonely. It’s followers of Jesus sharing the love, justice and compassion that they have experienced to those who have yet to discover the transformative grace of the Lord. Then it’s coming back together in the local church as Sunday rolls into the next week to be invigorated and readied to get back into the fray once more.
Local churches are the ones following the command of Jesus to make disciples. It’s the local church that is baptizing these new followers. The local church that is teaching newbies in the ways of Christ. It’s local food pantries feeding the hungry. Local ministries that are making a difference. No other agency, program, government entity or denominational initiative is doing these things so well in so many places. The local church is the listening, learning, loving agent of Christ throughout the world.
But local churches can be messy. Everyone doesn’t think alike, look alike, vote alike, like the same music or leisure activities. Members don’t even agree theologically always about the small stuff (the big stuff like “Jesus is Lord!” on that we completely agree!). But together, the local church says, “Let’s make our little corner of the world, a little bit more like heaven.” They pray that God’s Kingdom would come and His will done in their locality as it is in heaven. The forces of hell are putting up a fight, but the King of Heaven is greater. He empowers us collectively to break the gates of hell and rescue the perishing. He calls us jointly to be his instrument in the world. (Notice the lack of pluralization of the word “instrument” was intentional). To be most effective, the local church must be one. One Lord. One baptism. One body. One task of winning our world for Jesus!
The local church enables us to do what we can’t do alone. We need Jesus and we need each other. When Jesus is holding one hand and our local church body holding the other, we will see the mountains of sin, injustice and corruption moved. We’ll see the evil forces flee. We’ll see God’s kingdom come.
The local church, at its best, is the greatest force for good in the world!