I can give you names of people who silently suffer because of what is happening in their church. These people are pastors, leaders, and regular attenders. They feel like the walls are crumbling around them, and that many are abandoning the mission of what God has collectively called their congregation to accomplish. For some, these things aren’t a big deal. Some worship at a local congregation, and never really see the decline. They may be people who simply go to church because their spouses make them, or they consider it a sporadic hobby that keeps their parents happy. The truth is God wants your church to flourish, and to come back to your “first love” as described in the book of Revelation.
We are all humans. We all have similar experiences and hurts. With this being said I think, if we were to be brutally honest with ourselves, we would see that there are specific things that are happening in our churches that may be destroying them. All churches have their unique personalities, and sometimes the issue lies in the leadership, and other times it is found in the apathy of the membership. Today, I want to talk about 5 things that may be destroying your church. Beware…
Disclaimer: Overall, sin is what is wearing away at the fabric of our churches, but these are things that are often unseen. Also, there are obviously many others that could fit here.
1. Competitive Mentalities– As church leaders and attenders, we HAVE to stop thinking we are somehow competing with the church down the street. We are not dealing with a fast food franchise or a vicious enemy. We are talking about other brothers and sisters working towards the same mission. Take more time to pray for other congregations and genuinely seek how you can help them in their struggles. Let’s just assume the church down the street is not butchering the scripture, and start rejoicing when they rejoice and mourn when they are in sorrow. This mentality,if not taken seriously, will destroy everything if allowed to take hold.
2. Ministry Possession– Contrary to popular belief, the church kitchen is not your kitchen, the library is not your library, the pew you sit in is not your pew, and the gym is not your gym (ohh…I mean family life center). If you have given money, time, and energy to create and sustain a ministry of the church then you should be commended. These resources are God’s though; not yours. Don’t give anything if you are not willing to give it completely without the expectation of eternal ownership in it. Let God use what He will for His purposes.
3. Ignoring Scripture– We may read verses in the worship services out loud, or notice the inspirational framed segments of scripture on the foyer walls, but how many people actually have a holy fear about whether or not they are treating God’s word with proper reverence. By this, I mean, are we simply reading, or are we passionately doing? Far too many people rely on the pastor to study scripture for them, and neglect their own personal study. God wants to speak with you more than once a week.
4. Ignoring Children’s call to Ministry– Little Susie wants to be a missionary when she grows up. What do we do when we hear this? Of course we pat her on the head and smile. We know she will come to her senses when she starts encountering adult problems. We will see if this feeling lasts… WHY???? WHY do we do this? As people who believe that the Holy Spirit is real and active, we MUST take this seriously and immediately take action. This child has so much she could be accomplishing for the kingdom. Not in 15 years….NOW. Getting kids involved in ministry will only grow the church.
5. Mixed up Priorities– Do you realize how much time, talent, and energy is spent every week on issues such as what kind of communion wafers will be served, where the organ is placed, and whether or not drums are used in the service? Are we that bored with God? We have to realize that while we are arguing in our committees about these things, there are people outside our walls dying, and trying to get our attention. The pain is too much to bear, but we are occupied with wall color in the fellowship hall. Don’t allow the enemy to win in this area.
God empowered the church with His Holy Spirit for a reason. Don’t allow these issues to erode at progress and steal joy. We can make a choice to be better.
Go forward in love.