We utter agreements to work together. We vow to ‘come along side one another’. But are all these promises false? Are we faking it ? I’m speaking to fellow pastors and church members. Do we really intend to support each other even if we don’t belong to the same denomination or brick and mortar church?
It seems all too often that we are so preoccupied with what we are doing in our ministries that we do not have time to support the greater ecclesia. We have our heads down and we are plodding onward completely oblivious that there are other Christians in our own community struggling and in need of Christian fellowship and support.
Is this what Christ had in mind when He prayed to the Father “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” John 17:20-21 I don’t think this is what Christ had in mind at all. In fact I believe that He is greatly saddened by our separation from one another.
Conversely then, if we are called His bride, we the church, how can we justify the sheep stealing that takes place among churches? Are we in competition with one another? Has it become strictly about who has the most congregants in the pews? Will God, one day reward us in heaven for the amount of sheep we have stolen from another flock? NO! I’ve literally seen the smirks and pride on the faces of some pastors when they compare their churches. This ought not be!!! I have witnessed the arrogance of some who look down on smaller congregations simply because of their size of memberships. This cannot exist in the body of Christ! I am not saying this because I grew up in small congregations and also now pastor one. I’m saying this because when we start comparing our church flocks and when we start looking down our noses at other Christians we allow sin and pride into our midst. After all didn’t Jesus say; “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:42-45 (NIV)
Pastors, stop acting prideful of your accomplishments. Stop comparing yourselves with what other churches are doing and looking down your noses at smaller congregations. Don’t let pride seep into who God has call His body to be. Congregations stop trying to be better than the church down the street. Stop wearing a fake front in order to impress and steal congregational members from other churches! You are hurting the body of Christ!
Is this an indictment on the Western Church? Perhaps. But am I to judge? It’s not my place to throw blame anywhere, I’m just as guilty as the next pastor is. But what I am saying is beware, be careful pastors and church members! Satan would love nothing more than to tear you down with your pride and arrogance so that you resemble more of the world and less like Christ. Watch out, because he would love nothing more than to destroy our fellowship of believers!
God’s Bride needs to stop comparing. She needs to stop the sheep stealing and competing with itself. We cannot act like the world because we are made for so much more than this. We are to reflect the very heart of Christ…and if we aren’t then we either need to readjust our course or be prepared to face His displeasure and judgement.