…You may want to cover your ears.

10540405_10153180603638222_5237878301899934639_nRecently I was asked by some friends of mine, “What is the state of the Church in America? What is happening?” I guess I seemed like the right guy to answer the question since I am with churches across the country, helping them focus and strengthen their missions visions and strategies, about 120 or so days a year.

I suspect that they expected me to talk about all the problems with churches in America.  I didn’t.  To be sure, there are many churches that have lots of problems and for whom Jesus is little more than a religious side interest, useful for escaping hell, but not much else. But those are not the churches that call me in to help them with their global mission — churches that are not ravished by Christ have little interest in declaring His glory among the nations. I told them about the churches that I spend my time with: churches that have been captured by God’s grace and churches who, at great cost to themselves, are joyfully spreading the good news to the ends of the earth.

On Monday of last week, I began working with a small church in Fairfax Virginia. Ten of Harvest Bible Church leaders gathered in a room to begin praying and dreaming of how God might use their church to make much of Jesus among UNreached peoples – people with little or no access to the Gospel. This little church is blood earnest in her desire and I anticipate that I will look back many years from now and marvel that I got to be a part of those days of small beginnings.

The next morning, I was at a Panera Bread in Ipswich, MA getting ready to meet once again with the leaders of First Presbyterian Church of Ipswich. I have been walking alongside them for almost ten months and in this November they will roll out the global vision that was forged over the last year. They are attempting great things for God and expecting great things from Him. This church is in love with Christ and so they love what He loves… the nations. I too am expecting God to use them to do great things.

This year I have worked with churches in Texas, Kansas, Montana, Florida, New Mexico, Missouri, Massachusetts, Virginia, Wyoming…and the list continues to grow. These are Gospel spreading, justice pursuing, others centered churches that are not content with the status quo. In fact,  you might even say that these churches are filled with divine discontent.

So how do I answer the question, “What is the state of the Church in America?”   Well …I am hopeful, not in the Church itself, but in the Great Lion who upholds and sustains the hope of the Great Commission’s fulfillment. His cause will prevail, it cannot be thwarted, He is able to do His work whether by many or few. He will build His Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.

Aslan is preparing to roar…you many want to cover your ears.

Matthew Ellison
President and Missions Coach

For more information on how SIXTEEN:FIFTEEN can help unleash your church’s potential to reach the nations, call to talk with a Church Coach at 505-248-1615, email us or www.1615.org to visit our website.