10 ways you may be destroying the church – Part 2
We all have a bit of Pharisee in us, and it often comes out when we’re least alert. It might be that first thought that zips through our brain: “She never reads her Bible.” Or, “He’s always so gruff. He needs to develop more fruits of the Spirit.”
Though God does call His children to speak truth into other’s lives, we need to make sure we’ve developed the relational bridge to support loving admonishments. If we haven’t, chances are, we’re misreading the situation and much more is going on beneath the surface than we’ve even considered.
And more often than not, our judgment doesn’t come from a place of love but rather pride, triggered by the thought, “I’d never do that.” Pride is ugly, and others tend to notice, whether we voice those negative thoughts or not. The solution? We need to check our hearts, daily, asking God to remove all those things that get in His way.
• Unrealistic expectation of our leaders
Today’s pastors and ministry leaders are expected to visit the sick, counsel the hurting, be everything to everyone, and more, all the while researching and preparing each week’s sermon. We somehow forget that they have lives outside of ministry, families they’re responsible to, and that there’s only so much one person can do in a given week.
We must remember that a pastor’s primary role is to preach truth. They must sift every opportunity and congregational expectation through the will of God. Our role is to trust they’re doing that, to support them in their God-given mission, and to seek to be blessings, not leeches. Their role is to obey Christ, not the loudest, most offended, or most disgruntled congregants.
In the church, people pleasing is most often seen when, out of guilt or perhaps a desire to look good or avoid looking bad, we assume roles not meant for us. When we do this, not only do we risk feeling frustrated and ineffective, we may be preventing others from taking on the tasks God has assigned.
This is also one of the quickest roads to burnout, which could result in us doing nothing. When we serve because of God’s prompting, however, He ignites a passion within us and gives us the strength and ability to complete whatever He has assigned.
Our churches are filled with too many immature, stagnating Christians. Those who come on Sunday morning, listen to the sermon and sing a few songs, then go about their days as if they’d never attended. We spend more time talking about that next clothing sale or football game than we do the things of God.
But He has so much more planned for us than mindless shopping and momentary entertainment. He’s called us to live a great adventure, one of incredible impact and consistent growth, one that will fulfil us more and leave us satisfied longer than a quick trip to the mall ever could.
Imagine going through life without a leg, or navigating the city without eyesight. For some of you, that’s a reality, so you know the challenges. But what if that leg was within reach but was unwilling to help?
In 1 Corinthians 12:12-27, Paul uses the analogy of the human body to explain the various spiritual gifts and roles within the church. “If one part suffers” or disengages, “all parts suffer with it” (1 Cor. 12:26, NLT). Imagine a church filled with nothing but feet!
If our church feels unbalanced, before complaining or pointing fingers, we should check ourselves. Are we doing what God has called us to do, or have we chosen to become pew warmers, thus exacerbating the problem?
God will grow His church. He’s been saving humanity and changing lives since creation, but He’s invited us to join Him. More than that, He’s given each and every one of us the responsibility of fostering a thriving church and leaving an eternal impact on our community. May we practise those behaviours that facilitate unity, growth, and transformation, while simultaneously turning from church-destroying behaviours.
Because much more is at stake than our feelings, pride, or preferences.
Dr. Bola Akin-John
International Church Growth Ministry