I've heard a well known pastor and many pastors who emulate him say several times "The church is the hope of the world." Every time I hear this, I cringe. If you've spent any amount of time in the church or read the news, you know the church is flawed! You know it is not perfect! Just look at all the polls and surveys. It is said over and over that there is little evidence to show a difference between those who claim to be Christians and those who do not. This is why I cringe. I can't agree with the statement at all! To place the hope of the world in the church as we know it would be stupid! The church is made up of people: flawed, fallen, easily tempted, led away people!!!
A statement I could agree with is this, "Jesus is the hope of the world". I think this is what this well known pastor and his grrrr followers mean, but I wish they would say it that way. Jesus is the hope of the world and USES the church (defined as God's people). The church (defined as a building with staff and attenders) is not in and of itself the hope of the world (and I wish they would stop saying it that way!!!). God, as the head of the church, working through the church is the hope of the world. But God is not contained solely in the church. God is at the bar, God is at the mall, God is on the fishing boat, God is in the care, God is everywhere and therefore His hope is everywhere. The hope of the world is not locked in a church building, it is here and there and everywhere and for that I am so grateful!