Join us for Back to Church SundayPublished 12:07am Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Sunday is National Back to Church Sunday. Crosspoint Church and churches all over America want to encourage everyone to get back to church.
One reason we’re celebrating Back to Church Sunday is because a lot of us have chosen to take a break from church — some for a few weeks, some for a season, and some have pretty much given up on church all together. Some leave simply because they’ve made a change in their life and some people leave the church because they don’t see what difference it really makes.
Over the course of history, the church has gotten a pretty bad rap, some of it justified, but truthfully, the church has brought much good into the world. The church promotes the life and work of Jesus Christ. More than 2,000 years after the life of Jesus, he continues to impact billions of people in every corner of the world through the work of the church.
During the three years of his public ministry, Jesus humbly went about healing the sick, caring for the poor and loving the loveless. Jesus taught “unless you come to me like a child, you cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” The early church took Jesus’ teachings seriously and began a movement to value the “least of these.” In fact, by the middle ages, the church had developed such a reputation for caring for children that it became a common practice for people who couldn’t take care of their own children to leave them on the front steps of a local church. The church founded the first and largest orphanage system in the world. In addition to children, Jesus also set the example for human rights for women as well as people of all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.
The church has always been a leader in education as well as health care. It is a little known fact today that all nine of the earliest universities in colonial America; including Harvard, Yale, Brown, Princeton and Columbia, were affiliated with churches. The modern hospital system was pioneered and developed by the church. The church is today the largest provider of health care in the world. In human rights, medicine, education, art and even politics, Jesus’ impact can be clearly seen and felt in history.
What is the church doing today? Jesus told his disciples, to “Go and make disciples of all people.” Jesus wasn’t just telling them to go and tell about what he had done. He was telling them they were to be his hands and feet. Our actions become his actions and our words become His words. That’s what following Jesus is all about. This is happening today through many Christ-followers like Christine Caine. Christine was tired of hearing about young girls trapped in slavery, and so she started the A21 Campaign in 2008. Today it is bringing hope and help to thousands of women all over the world. Faith-based organizations like Salvation Army, Save the Children, and Samaritan’s Purse have taken up the charge to be the church Jesus desires.
There is a misconception that the church is shrinking. In fact, the opposite is true. Around the world the church is exploding. Today there are more than 6 million churches worldwide. That’s a lot of impact!
Jesus isn’t just impacting the world through the church. He is making a difference in each life. He makes a personal difference to each one through his redemptive power. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old is gone, the new is here.” The same power of God that has transformed history can transform a life. That’s pretty amazing.
The Church is God’s family. Its members have accepted God’s grace and forgiveness and have set out to do life together in the way Jesus is teaching them to do it. No matter where you are in your faith journey, you are loved and accepted by his church.
If you have been away from God and his church for too long, please accept this invitation and attend a church of your choice Sunday, September 15. It will make a positive difference in your life both now and for eternity.
Renae Loy is the children’s minister at Crosspoint Church in Natchez.