WS Update: The Church’s Branding Problem

July 3, 2023

“Christianity’s got a branding problem.” This was the title of a recent NY Times article by Jessica Grose on declining religious observance in America.

It’s no secret that the Christian church’s reputation has fallen on hard times in the U.S. There have been scandals and failures of ethical leadership. Many people are turned off by what they perceive as inappropriate cultural and political associations of the church. The church’s P.R. rating has seen better days.

So it’s astounding that Jesus would entrust the message of the world’s redemption to such fallible and capricious creatures as human beings, prone to error and corruption and abuse as we are. If Jesus were the all-powerful and all-wise God he claims to be, couldn’t he have found a more reliable way of fulfilling this all-important mission? Surely, some version of A.I. could have done better than this.

And yet this seems to be the plan God has chosen and the one he’s sticking with. The spread of his salvation has been entrusted to the all-too-human community called the church.

But what is just as astounding is that the church has endured (and sometimes thrived) for thousands of years, and in the most diverse times, cultures, and places. Sometimes it’s been a poor reflection of what it was meant to be. Other times have seen bright flames of incandescence in lives of astonishing beauty and love and mercy.

It’s hard enough to pass on the faith from one generation to the next in one’s own family, let alone across a whole culture. But despite all the challenges, God has given his people two utterly dependable resources – the truth of the gospel and the presence of his Spirit. When Christians tap into these, they are able to face anything. The community of Jesus can not only endure but thrive, whatever challenges they face.

So as we settle into the summer season, let your heart be renewed by the gospel and the Spirit. And let your heart take comfort and courage, whatever personal or global challenges lie ahead.

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Next week is Vacation Bible School! We are still in need of more volunteers. If you are a parent, childcare is offered for children 0-3 while volunteering. Find a time that works for you whether it is for a day or the whole week. We would love to have you join us!

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