Ten days after the attacks on the World Trade Center Towers, I stood at Ground Zero and tried to take in the aftermath of one horrific day.
But strangely, while the ashes smoldered around me, and the grief of it overwhelmed me, a profound hope rose in my heart--the local church is the hope of the world.
The thoughts of that made me cry out to God, No way! There’s just no way evil can be that deep and that dark!
There were many people and organizations helping out after the disaster. But a work of a deeper kind was happening behind the scenes in downtown Manhattan. The most important work of all was being done by pastors and church members, volunteers of churches, ordinary Christ followers. They were in the middle of all the misery, addressing the concerns of the soul.
It was happening 24 hours a day. That was the untold media story. So many other organizations met the external needs of people, but it was the church that reached out to care for the inner needs of their fellow human beings. The church became the physicians for the souls of people. That experience underscored, yet again, the convictions that have been forming in Bill Hybels for the past 30 years--that the church has an unique mission to fulfill on planet Earth. And that the future of our society depends on whether or not church leaders understand that and focus the vision of local churches accordingly.
Where Bill’s heart beats the fastest is with leaders in local churches. He believes to the core of his being that local church leaders have the potential to be the most influential force in the world. If they "get it," churches will be the redemption centers for change that Jesus imagined them being.
So that’s Bill’s hope--that the spiritual gift of leadership will come alive in churches everywhere and, as a result, the church will become the force in the world against which the gates of hell cannot prevail