Through the Ages and Around the World

By Mark A. Taylor

Where would the world be without the church?

Good question, but it’s far too general. Where would Glen Cove or Tonawanda, New York, be without the church? Or Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania? Or Everett, Washington? Or Mesa, Arizona?

The stories we are posting this week offer answers to the questions. We tell the stories of Christians in each of these towns, everyday believers like you and me who are helping their neighbors and bettering their communities in Jesus’ name for God’s glory.

As Mark Moore said in his article we published April 5, “The notion that our churches care little for compassionate ministries just isn’t true. The fact is, the evangelical church has led the way for decades.”

As proof he mentions international house-building ministries, Katrina relief, AIDS relief and education (“Where AIDS is the greatest problem, Christians are the greatest solution”), and more.

In spite of this, a reader wrote us about a concerning trend she sees today: a “bash-the-church” mentality among some Christian leaders who ignore or have missed all the church has done and is doing for others. She states her case well:

Pick a year, any year; now pick a country; now go there on an imaginary trip.

Remove all Christian impact. That is, take away the schools started by Christians, the orphanages, hospitals, literacy programs, agricultural education/implementation, clean water, clothing, housing, disaster relief, Christmas boxes, sports programs, disability ministries, and on and on.

And those people were teaching about Jesus while they were doing it all.

Remove the dollars sent by people who didn’t actually go but helped from afar. And the prayers.

What remains would be a wasteland. And most of these things were supported by Christians who also took food and clothing to their own neighbors here at home whenever there was illness, house fire, loss of work. This list goes on and on too.

We need some publicity to counteract all the “church-isn’t-doing-anything” speeches.

Well, long before we received this letter, we planned our “Get Your Hands Dirty” 2009 emphasis. Articles this week are just a few more examples of Christians reaching out to nurture the bodies and souls of people around them. (We have several more articles like these planned for the rest of the year, but we have room for even more. Let us hear from you!)

The fact is that stories like those we’re telling this week are happening in community after community as Christians everywhere show the love of Christ by meeting the needs of their neighbors. If someone doesn’t believe that, we hope our 2009 emphasis will convince them.

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