It seems that every fifteen minutes someone is writing a blog post decrying the end of the Christian church. Undoubtedly, many of the things we measure in terms of worship attendance have been in decline for the last half century. However, if we look at the work that the church is doing and the ways the Holy Spirit is moving, decline seems the least appropriate word.
In the first six months of 2016, the Healthy Eating and Living (HEAL) initiative at Community Development for all People shared 333,948 pound of free fresh fruits and vegetables with 14,093 people. In addition to our Fresh Market, cooking classes have grown to maximum capacity, six different exercise programs have people moving, and people are living in to the gift of abundant health through health education and coaching.
I was recently at lunch with a colleague who described our church as a magical place. While I have had extraordinary experiences in my short time, we are not the only place where God is moving. This summer I have preached and visited with churches in New Mexico and Texas as part of our missionary itineration. Whenever I go and visit churches I seek to share with them the lessons of asset based community development and a divine economy of God’s abundance that are at the core of our work. I try and leave each church thinking and praying about the opportunities they have in their own communities.
However, I have been particularly touched by the work that churches are already doing with diverse communities. Churches are reaching across town and across states to equip schools, improve housing, build healthier communities, and most importantly build relationships.
From my travels over the last month it is obvious that God’s Spirit is moving, and not just in Columbus, Ohio, but across the country and the world. The sky is not falling, the Spirit is moving!