Dismal reports of young people leaving church and diminishing attendance could lead to a dire prediction for the future of the church in America. Research from the Barna Group concludes that the next generation of Christians has a crisis of confidence in institutions, including the church.
And yet, studies show that confidence in the church rises when the church is active in the community, seeking restoration and pointing to hope. This engagement is an outflow of the gospel, not just “holy busyness”. It community life pointing people to the gospel of Christ.
Village Church in Buffalo, New York (planted in 2011) is being an agent of change in a broken world. Last month, over 150 people gathered around workstations piled high with donated denim. For 20 people, this was their first time to connect with Village Church.
Each workstation was given a task of tracing, cutting or pinning the denim. Throughout the day, laughter rang out as people swapped stories and worked together. Meaningful connections were made between church regulars and new attendees.
During the course of the day, volunteers cut and assembled the denim, which will be used by Sole Hope as shoes for children in Uganda and Zambia. Sole Hope provides sewing machines and training to Ugandan women. This gives them productive work and provides closed toe shoes to children. Shoes are a vital health need, as foot borne diseases can cripple children for life. Jeremy Hazelton, lead pastor of Village, explains, “We want to be a part of the long term solution.”
We, too, as Kingdom workers can be a part of God’s renewal. Our lives and our service, our very churches and projects point people towards the good news of a loving God.
Each new church that Orchard Group plays a part in this restoration. Our churches point to God, making known the grace of Jesus with visible signs of God’s love. You make this renewal possible with your support.