Real church glory towers above numbers, talent, programs, budgets and buildings—all of which have their place. But the glory that can only be explained by God lasts forever, and it’s free for the taking.
Our staff was having a hardy conversation about the local church one day. I asked them how they saw the local church and what it represented in the community. Several ideas were shared from Scripture. One of our pastors said, “To me, I believe the church is a lighthouse.” Somehow that simple answer resonated in my heart, and since then, I have always wanted to lead our flock to shine with a brighter light for the glory of God. Having given that much thought over the years, here are 6 essential glories which allow our churches to be lighthouses both inside and outside our assemblies.
“And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,” (II Peter 1:19).
Here Peter is telling us that the Scriptures are more reliable than the first-hand experiences of the apostles themselves, and that they are a light in the murky darkness of this world until Jesus appears. The Scriptures are glorious. They are God-breathed, authoritative, and alive, and no church will shine without them. Man’s opinion, clever illustrations, high-tech visuals, and newspaper articles must never replace the clear teaching of the Word of God. The Scripture is most powerful when we understand what it meant to those who heard it for the first time.
“To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you the hope of glory,” (Col. 1:27).
From the Scriptures we learn that the majesty of Jesus becomes the glory of the church. The joy of this for me as a pastor is that both the written Word and the living Word will always agree and seem to always respond when we humble ourselves and look for the grace.
“Awake my glory! Awake, lute and harp! I will awaken the dawn,” (Psalm 57:8).
The idea here is a redeemed person and a redeemed congregation have the God-given ability to engage God in developing an intimate relationship, and this is an essential glory for a church to shine.
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord,” (II Cor. 3:18).
What a glory it is when believers continue to grow and change. When the addicted ones are set free, the worry warts pick up the shield of faith, the lustful become pure, the thieves and penny pinchers and moochers start giving, the sour mouths become sweet, the bitter ones start forgiving, even ole grumpy becomes joyful, and the liars start telling the truth! What a day in the church when the glory of transformation is the way of life!
“To Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen, ” (Eph. 3:21).
Of course, God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. It’s a given—the transformation of people leads to the glorification of God. When you assemble with a church like this, it’s a little like heaven on earth. People can’t wait to get there and don’t want to leave because God is there. The children especially notice it even though they don’t understand completely. It’s like a safe place with real joy.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16)
The glory must not stop inside the assembly; it must permeate the lost and dying world. Every culture is essentially apostate and corrupt. Through saving grace, the church can demonstrate a gospel culture that operates by truth and love. At this point the glory becomes evangelistic.
May the Lord give us grace to employ all the glories God has made available to us as a church. Real church glory towers above numbers, talent, programs, budgets and buildings—all of which have their place. But the glory that can only be explained by God lasts forever, and it’s free for the taking.
Joe Humrichous is the executive director of Paradigm One and Bible Prayer Fellowship. The message of the sufficiency of Christ for both the pastor and the local church was birthed during a time of brokenness in his early ministry. Now after 50 years in ministry, Joe is passionate to share this reality as it applies to corporate prayer and church leadership. He recently served as a pastor at First Baptist Church in Covington, Indiana. He and his wife Teresa have 5 children and 13 grandchildren.