At the moment, in my Merced Adventist Church, I am preaching through Revelation - and organized religion comes in for some pretty harsh criticism.
But yesterday, my Conference put on their annual Pathfinder Bike-a-thon. All I had to do was get my kids there with their bikes - and thanks to my congregation and club staff and parents - we did it brilliantly!
Other than that, the perfect track had been found. Waivers printed. Insurance supplied. Toilets were brought in and strategically placed. Lights for the dark... inspectors to make sure hundreds of bikes were not a hazard to other bikes. Track monitors trained, equipped and delivered every hour to each corner on the track.
Norma, Sandra and the many regular volunteers worked the whole way through - they looked over thousands of pieces of paper - making sure we know who was who in any accident. Things are lifted. Electricity put in place. Local law enforcement informed.
They all took any complaints with grace, and moved to make the event as perfect as possible for each member of each club. There is a doctor on site. Why - they even kept the rain away for most of the time, and when it did get wet, were not afraid to call it off for safety, even when the kids wanted to keep going!
I never saw anyone positioning themselves for a promotion (so appallingly obvious at many church gatherings). I didn't see jealousy drive actions. Sure, there was the occasional conversation where everyone thought they knew how to make it better - we were an Adventist gathering after all! But this never stopped us from doing what we came to do. What I did see were adults swarm to any kid who fell to offer comfort and help. I saw people offer tools, canopies, and parts to get kids from other clubs into the fun of it all.
So while many in organized religion continue to fund events to show how they are the best, or to complain about Donald Trump, ISIS or the hymn chosen of the end of worship service . . . just know there are so many who are out there actually "doing" the gospel sharing/building. Preparing and encouraging the next generation of our committee members - though let's admit (and hope) that in future generations there will be less committees, but getting more done.
Until then, us saying the world is so bad Jesus has to return soon, will be missing the whole point. He won't come when the world is bad enough. He's coming when his people are ready.