Anyone familiar with Bill Hybels has heard it: 'The hope of the world is the local church.' "On dozens of occasions, I heard the phrase and nodded in agreement," says pastor Chad Hall in Leadership Journal. "The phrase led me to commit or recommit myself to serving the local church. The phrase caused me to weep. The phrase gave orientation to my life and to my work. But lately when I hear it, my response is different. No commitment. No tears. No direction. Just a one-word question filled with doubt: 'Really?'
"I'm starting to believe the hope of the world cannot possibly rest with the not-for-profit religious organizations dotting our landscape and holding themselves out to be 'churches'. It just can't be true. It's not that I doubt God or the unique and saving nature of Jesus; I truly believe Jesus is the hope of the world. I do not doubt that God's plan is to empower and inspire ordinary people to carry the life-giving message of salvation. I do not even doubt that communities of believers are the God-ordained means for carrying out this grand plan. What I doubt is that what passes for 'church' these days is the manifestation of Jesus in our world. I even doubt that my own church is a church."
A painfully honest article. More here. Also see pastor Doug Johnson's interesting response to this article.