What does the church have to offer the community

| March 17, 2015

To The Editor,

A few weeks ago I received a communication from the Beacon inviting our church to participate in the sixth edition of “Faith Renewed” – a section of the Beacon that would be encouraging faith, hope and spiritual growth in the community. The letter said that although Coshocton’s economic situation was improving there were still many people in the community who were dealing with fear or hopelessness from job loss, sickness, health issues, reduced hours, and layoffs. The letter said that the purpose of the “Faith Renewed” section was to provide encouragement, faith and hope to those people who were struggling in the community. While there would most likely be articles on selected churches, their editorial team would be trying to profile and reveal the programs and opportunities that people have to get involved and help each other. I assume the question really was “What does your church have to offer these people who are struggling that live in our community?” So I want to address the question.

As I thought about our church and the many other churches within our community I wondered, what we can actually offer. Most churches do not have the financial and material resources that most unemployed people need – such as housing – food – utilities – jobs – medical resources – health resources. But I was reminded once again of what the church DOES have. Churches DO have Jesus! And Jesus is who people really need. Jesus can bring people into a relationship with Almighty God who Himself owns all the resources on a thousand hills. And He’s the One the church can offer to the community. The church is not called to compete with the city, state and federal governments who bring in billions of dollars of tax money. The church is to represent God, speak His Word, and dispense to the community the spiritual truth that comes from the Bible. The church’s main mission is to introduce people to Jesus who alone can save people from their sins, and see to it that they reach heaven safely when they die. Every real church that is worth its weight in salt introduces people to Christ. The church’s mission is not to emphasize general ideas about faith, hope, and spiritual growth. The church’s mission is to introduce people to JESUS.  Scripture says “My GOD shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory IN CHRIST JESUS.” Only Jesus can truly satisfy the emptiness in the human heart. Only Jesus can forgive sins. Only Jesus can encourage us by His abiding presence in overcoming fear.

There is no better way to encourage someone than to tell them about Christ and His love that brought Him down to earth to die on the cross for the sins of mankind and to offer abundant life now and eternal life beyond the grave. The message of Christ is a message of love, hope, faith, peace, and forgiveness. It’s a message worth telling the community. And that is the greatest challenge and the greatest mission of every church. And that message can be told whether a church is large or small, whether it has great resources or few, whether it has a big facility or small. The churches of Coshocton have much to offer the people of the community.  And it all comes packaged in a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Jesus told His apostles. “Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you always even to the end of the age.”

This is what our churches are to do – and what they can offer our community. Some churches may have greater resources, others may not, but as Peter and John said to the lame man at the temple gate beautiful “Silver and gold have I not, but what I have I give to you. In the name of Jesus of Nazareth rise and walk.”

To all the churches in our community serving Christ whether small or great, keep up the good work of introducing the community to the only ONE who can truly help them. JESUS CHRIST THE LORD! And to those who haven’t attended church for years – turn your heart to CHRIST – attend HIS church – and May God bless you as you do.

Michael W Bilsza

Pastor of the Coshocton Alliance Church

 

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