10 ways you may be destroying the church – Part 1
Scripture says love always protects. • When tempted to say something, we must ask ourselves: Am I protecting this other individual? And, am I protecting the unity of the church? When we share with others regarding an “offence”, we risk harming a fellow church member’s opinion of someone else, thus laying the foundation for division.
If we must vent, we can do so without mentioning names, and we can always vent to God. He’s the only One Who perceives the situation and all involved accurately. If we must bring others into a conflict, we should do so following Christ’s very clear instructions found in Matthew 18:15-17.
• Please note that this doesn’t pertain to situations of rape or abuse.
Complaining may seem harmless, but it stems from a negative outlook, one that we spew to everyone else, thus bringing them down with us.
In Numbers chapter 11, Scripture tells a story about the Israelites, as God was leading them through the wilderness to the Promised Land. He’d rescued them from the Egyptians, brought them out of slavery, and provided for all their needs.
But as the journey continued, and they walked through the hot, dry desert day after day, they fed and voiced their negativity.
Numbers 11 says, “Soon the people began to complain about their hardship, and the Lord heard everything they said. Then the Lord’s anger blazed against them…” (NLT).
It’s interesting to note that Moses, God’s chosen leader, complained a great deal, but there’s no evidence in Scripture that this ever angered God. Why?
The difference was that Moses complained to God, whereas the people complained to one another, and before long, this negativity grew, infecting the entire camp.
Shortly after, Moses’ siblings criticised their brother, potentially leading to an uprising.
Then, in chapter 13, when God sends scouts out to explore the land He’d already given His people, they continued what had become a culture of negativity and convinced the people that the opposition to God’s plan was greater than God Himself.
Negativity is contagious, toxic, and can lead a people, group and church to believe the hard or unpleasant is greater than God.
Scripture tells believers to “die” to themselves (Matthew 16:24-24) and live for Christ and His mission.
The church isn’t here to serve us but rather, we are to serve the church. Though we certainly benefit from godly community and sound teaching, that’s so we can better serve.
In Romans 12:1-2, Paul says, “… I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is the true way to worship Him” (NLT).
We are to give our whole bodies, our entire selves—thoughts, will, actions, word, gifts, time—to God to be used as He wills.
God intentionally places visionaries within our churches—those with the gift of dreaming big and enlisting others to help.
To catch and pursue a vision, the church must embrace a certain amount of risk and, often, change two things many are uncomfortable with. We may be tempted to limit or criticise the vision God has cast, but He has called us to continual growth and impact.
May we never be the limiting factor within our church.
This trait can present in numerous ways—entitlement, misery, being easily offended, and overly insecure. Whenever we obsess about ourselves, whether that’s focusing on our shortcomings or our problems, we lose sight of the mission God has called us to.
Our world steadily shrinks, and instead of spurring us to grow in love, faith, and service, this usually causes us to grow in misery. It might even cause us to isolate and self-protect.
The more we focus on ourselves, the more miserable we become. The more we focus on others and God’s redemptive mission, the more peace and joy we experience, and the greater our impact in our church and community.
Dr. Bola Akin-John
International Church Growth Ministry
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