There is nothing like a church. There are 6,277 local Seventh-day Adventist congregations in North America. Each is different from the other. Each is unique. Most all of them could say, “In our church we never…” or “In our church we always…” But each is part of the unique entity we call “the church.”
The church is the only organization in history which Scripture records as having been established by God. The church is the only organization God claims to have put in place specifically for the purpose of assaulting the kingdom of evil. The church is the only organization to which God assigns the task of telling His story to the world. (To the analytically inclined it could be argued that we should include publishing and Christian media and Christian schools, etc. I would reason that those are simply some of the means the church chooses to accomplish its assignment.)
Here is the reason I make these assertions: Virtually every organization, over time, tends to stray off message. Entropy sets in. Call it malaise, call it torpor, call it losing focus. Call it Laodicea. Call it what you wish but the church is not immune. Budget decisions are often made for the comfort of the club members. The language we speak to each other in Sabbath School class is often primarily understood by other insiders. Guests may come and go without ever hearing the genuine words, “We are so happy you came to worship with us today! How can we pray for you this week? Do you have plans for lunch?”
The first Christian church was launched on its mission in a prayer meeting. That mission is renewed and kept at the head of the priorities list when the church prays…when the church kneels and acknowledges that it is surrounded by multitudes who have no hope. That man you passed on your way to church who was mowing his lawn. Those kids washing the family car in the driveway. That young mom on her way to the Laundromat. Many of them, unless there is a supernatural intervention in their lives, will not spend eternity with Jesus.
And those guys with their own little sub-culture, sleeping under the bridge. That single mom who cleans houses for others but sleeps in a shelter. That thirty-something who heads for the pub straight from work. That teen dabbling with drugs… Like no other, the burning compassion for those who need Him is kept alive in the collective heart of the church on its collective knees.
-By Don Jacobsen