We’re not selling a gimmick, a trend, or any other man-made coping mechanism. We proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, making and maturing disciples of Jesus for the glory of God. That mission is not only essential, but it is guaranteed to succeed.
And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.
Virtually every day I get spammed with email or social media ads saying something like this: “Is your church ready for the future? Times have changed, and if you’re not changing your approach to ministry your church will wither and die.” OK, that might be slightly exaggerated, but that’s the gist. The advertising hook is, “If you don’t change, your church will fail, and we have the right tools to help you change.” Usually they’re selling new curriculum or technology that will ensure the survival of our church.
This kind of advertising obviously works. Why? Because Christians love the church and desperately want to see the church thrive. That passion often leads to a faulty conclusion: through ministerial ingenuity we can ensure the success of the church in the future. It’s tempting.
To be sure our circumstances have drastically changed since the end of 2019. I’ll agree that looking ahead is a little scary. Will people stay committed to the church when culture has deemed it optional? Will people resume gathering for worship, encouragement, and edification? Will the church scatter to engage unbelievers and share the good news of Jesus Christ with them? Should we be confident moving forward? Will the church survive?
Here’s what Jesus says in Matthew 16:18: THE GATES OF HADES WILL NOT OVERPOWER THE CHURCH. This statement is the basis of unqualified confidence in the advancement of the kingdom of God. The mission of making and maturing disciples of Jesus is based on the promise of God that he guarantees its success.