Sometimes I think the church is more concerned about competition than it is about people.
It strikes me that many churches spend a lot of money on “church-growth” seminars and guest speakers and even other resources just to increase their Sunday attendances. I doubt many pastors are like this, but at times there is this perception that the more people a church can attract the more in tithes and offerings they will receive.
I feel it vital, for we who are church members and fellow sojourners of Christ, to stop the comparisons and the rivalries. What is the purpose of such folly? Are we fulfilling the great commission when we look across the street and the other church and covet what they have? Are we really reaching the lost and hurting in our world when we mock or slam other churches and denominations? Granted there is a time and place for theological conversations, but our unloving actions have a way of destroying any good we might do.
Fellow believers in Christ, how vital do you consider the salvation of others to be? This isn’t a question about how big or small your (our) church is, this is a question about your (our) mission and your (our) priorities. Sometimes we cloudy the already murky waters of what we do and make excuses for our busy-ness when the #1 priority is to, through the Holy Spirit’s power, help save lost souls. If what we are doing does in no way impact the potential salvation of the lost then, perhaps, we must once again re-align our priorities.
I offer you two solutions to assist in the realignment of mission:
1. Stop Coveting what you do not have!
1 Corinthians 12:12 – “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.“
We need to get back to work! Just because another church is having success doing one thing really well, doesn’t mean that we have to stop what we are doing and adopt their mission. Perhaps they are fulfilling their “part of the body” and we need to put our heads down and stop coveting what they are doing! Our mission and effective tools, given by the Holy Spirit, might be something completely different than theirs. We don’t need to have an identity crisis over this, we have to move on and prayerfully and humbly do as He (the Holy Spirit) prompts us to. We may never look like that mega-church down the street, but was that supposed to be our “model” for Holy Living in the first place? NO! Jesus should never be replaced with out covetous longings to be someone else. He has created us very differently and uniquely! So with that in mind we need to stop the comparisons and sometimes the jealousy…get on with it!
2. Start using what you do have!
1 Corinthians 12:4-6 – “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.“
The Holy Spirit distributes the gifts and dare I say even the passion to fulfill our mission of Salvation to the lost. So we must be willing to use what He has given us to use. We must stop with our identity crisis and get on with the full utilization of the spiritual gifts the Holy Spirit wishes us to employ! He provides what we need, so we have to work within our giftings and abilities! Every one of us is vital to the body of Christ. It matter little if we serve in a small church or big church. The message has to be the same though the gifts might often differ.
Is Salvation important to you?
If the answer is “yes” then we need to put aside our jealousy and our frustrations. We may even have to go before the Father and ask for forgiveness because of our covetous ways. The church was never intended to be some sort of statistical competitive success drive, but rather a mission of love, compassion and grace who willingly went to the orphans, widows, the poor and hurting and those who were seeking. We are still that today? Can we put aside our ridiculous worldly desire for statistical successes and instead focus on the vital nature of the great commission and disciple making?
Perhaps it’s time for a readjustment of our motives and our missions. Perhaps it’s time to get back on our knees and allow the Holy Spirit to reignite our wandering hearts. Perhaps it is time to stop relying on our “church-self help books & seminars” (sometimes they work) and start relying more on the leading of the Holy Spirit in our churches and in our hearts. There is not some “quick” method to salvation…it begins in relationship, love and fellowship. So, without further adieu, let’s get on with it!