The Medal of Honor is our nation’s highest military award. In fact, before Dakota Meyer, who was a Marine corporal at the time, was bestowed that honor by President Obama on September 15, 2011, there were only two other living recipients for actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In September 2009, defying orders to stay put, Meyer put himself in the turret of a Humvee and rode straight into the firefight, taking fire from all directions—not once, but five times. Now a sergeant, his bravery saved the lives of 36 people during an intense battle in Afghanistan’s Ganjgal Valley.

The church is engaged in a different kind of battle—but make no mistake about it, it’s a war. There was a day when the church was seen as the center of community activity, the conscience of America, the institution to turn to in crisis. Those days are gone. Today, throughout much of the world, the church has lost its voice and influence; in many circles, the church is most often associated with what it’s against rather than what it’s for.

The loss of influence has not only affected the church. As the church has decreased in influence, sin, sickness, shame and solitude have increased. Startling numbers of people today find themselves inextricably caught in mazes of sin, suffering and despair.

The statistical indicators that point to negative shifts in the church are alarming—the real-life indicators we see every day are even more alarming. But I’m convinced that a church that is resilient and resolved to stand its ground and take back what has been lost can counter the strongest onslaughts of the enemy.

Romans 12:2 clearly states that we are not to be conformed to the world, but must continually seek to be transformed in our thinking. We must renew our minds if we are ever to change the way we act. We must be resolved to do whatever it takes to stop the devastation within the church so that, once again, the church can reach out to the world with its saving message of God’s grace. Millions who are wounded, bound, hurt and confused are depending on our courage, compassion and competency to rescue them.

We have designated 2012 as the year for The Foursquare Church to rediscover its voice, its influence and its mission. To that end, we will be sharing about a new global focus and renewed prayer strategies. We want to rediscover the fire and focus of the early church, which maintained its voice and expanded its influence despite persecution from within and from without. It’s time to show up, stand up and speak up, church!

May the Lord help us discern the things that we need to do to reverse the current trends and to reestablish the role of His church as “salt” and “light” in the world. I pray that we will exhibit the passion and courage of Dakota Meyer—who was only 21 when he risked his life for his friends—and commit to rescuing those in peril, whatever the personal costs may be. Amen!

Watch a recent presentation on “Finding Our Voice” that Glenn Burris Jr. gave at the Central Pacific District’s fall conference:

By: Glenn Burris Jr., president of The Foursquare Church