L is for Local Church
This is one of my biggest passions, probably my biggest after my family.
I truly believe that the local church is the hope of the nations as without the local church the awesome news of Jesus will not be taken to the far corners of the globe.
I love the church for many reasons but one of my chief loves about the local church is the fact that it is invariably deeply involved in its local community and has its finger on the pulse of community life. As such the local church is often the best placed group or organisation to respond to needs within the community. In Macassar this was acknowledged by the municipality when they set up an emergency response unit in the community. The initial meetings were attended mainly by local church leaders and many remain very involved. There really is no better vehicle for reaching local people!
Many moons ago we were involved in a feeding programme in Zimbabwe and attended World Food Programme meetings in Harare. I was appalled by what I saw. Lots of NGO workers with swanky 4X4s and business cards doing a lot of networking. We were there with two other local churches. As the meetings started each organisation would have the opportunity to introduce itself and give feedback on how much food had been procured and distributed. Organisation after organisation gave a stunning presentation but each of them gave some fairly pathetic reasons for why they hadn't actually distributed any food yet. When the local churches presented we talked about how many tons of food we'd procured and distributed and the 250,000 people our church alone had fed. we were jumped on by the NGOs who accused us of prosletysing. Whether we were or not (and we weren't) we had fed a whole lot more people between us than all the NGO's together. Quite simply my point here is that the local church is a great way to identify and target genuine need because the local church is people living in their own communities and they know their neighbours.
I also believe local church is far more effective than the mega churches that have sprung up around the place. I was looking at some photos recently of a mega church meeting in South Africa and was left wondering just who was being worshipped. From the photos it looked like it was a close run thing between the leader and Jesus. I hope Jesus won but I'm not convinced.
To paraphrase Joshua; as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD - in local church.
This post is part of a series in the Blogging From A To Z Challenge, April 2012.