The Christian author and speaker Bill Hybels, who is also the pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, has said that the local church is the hope of the world.
Behind such a claim is the idea that the church has something important to offer to the world, even though we might sometimes forget that fact.
So what do people need from the church?
Perhaps to know that God loves them, that they have value, and that their life has significance and meaning. Perhaps they need to know that they are not alone, and to have the support of a community of grace to help them through life’s ups and downs. Perhaps they need peace, or hope, or a sense of belonging, or to discover something worth living for which gives their life purpose.
If our churches are to offer radical hospitality, we need to remind ourselves just how much we have to offer. We need to remember what we ourselves have gained from following Jesus and being part of a community of faith, and therefore have confidence in the message we have to share.
Here is today’s prayer and challenge:
Grant, O Lord,
that what has been said with our lips, we may believe in our hearts
and that what we believe in our hearts we may practice in our lives;
through Jesus Christ our Lord
– John Hunter, United Methodist Book of Worship
Challenge: With a family member or friend, consider the following questions: Why do people need Christ? Why do people need church? Why do people need your particular congregation?