Twelve years ago, when I was a young youth minister working with the largest parachurch youth ministry in the world, I had a second conversion experience.
Five years earlier I had my first conversion when I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ and committed to following Him all the rest of my days.
My second conversion came while sitting in the old dining hall at a camp called Lake Champion listening to a tape recorded message from Bill Hybels about why the local church is the hope of the world. That night, I knew that I wanted to give the better part of my life to the mission of building the local church.
Indeed for a decade after that moment that is exactly what I did.
I am side-lined now. Not sure for how long. Maybe forever. We’ll see.
But I still believe that JESUS IN THE LOCAL CHURCH IS THE HOPE OF THE WORLD.
I know that how the local church is expressed, organized, led and structured will continually have to change. But the basic truth that the local church is God’s appointed change agent for justice, love and shalom — that will never change.
Check out what Willow Creek is doing these days by clicking here: http://245.willowcreek.org/
And be sure to check out the video form Hybels about the vision.
This… people like those that gather at Willow and at great churches across the globe — both large and small — that convince me that JESUS IN THE LOCAL CHURCH IS STILL THE HOPE OF THE WORLD.