Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do men say that I am?” (see Mark 8:27). This question is fresh and immensely important today. What does our secular world think? What is its perception of the church in our modern world?

Please allow me to say this as clearly as I can, with kindness and straightforwardness, speaking the truth in love. My travels around the world have allowed me to meet thousands of leaders and I am in direct contact with their churches. I am often afraid that the modern church is softly and inexorably slipping into a sweet insanity. Dear reader, there are many definitions of insanity, one of the most pertinent being: “to continue to do the same thing in the same way over and over and expect a different result.” That’s insane!

Over 90 percent of North American churches have known no significant growth in 20 years, but we see no need to change anything!

Dear reader, Abraham, the father of faith, freed captives, fought for the poor, built wells, and fed the hungry. Hundreds of scintillating promises, stern warnings and clear commandments from Genesis to Revelation motivate, call and challenge us to serve the needy. Prophets and patriarchs in the Scriptures taught and modeled generosity. The history of the church shines the brightest when she dedicates herself to the defense of the oppressed and walks in her true calling and purpose. The Son of God incarnated all of the eternal, immutable, divine Trinity’s desire and intentions when He came among the poorest, fed the hungry multitudes, and healed every type of sickness and suffering.

Claude Houde is the lead pastor of Eglise Nouvelle Vie (New Life Church) in Montreal, Canada. Under his leadership New Life Church has grown from a handful of people to more than 3500 in a part of Canada with few successful Protestant churches.