How to destroy a congregation

by Richard Mansel, managing editor

We should all desire to get along so peace and unity can foster an atmosphere of growth in the congregation. When we keep our ultimate goals in mind, we remain focused and help people move forward. Otherwise, spiritual disease enters the body of Christ.

As a congregation this is very important to the Lord’s work. We must never forget that our goal is to bring glory to God (Ephesians 3:20-21) in the church, the household of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19).

We must put Jesus first in all things (Matthew 6:33) and direct people to the Scriptures to find the answers they need (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

We are not the answer or the solution. The gospel saves, not us (1 Corinthians 15:2). Like Andrew, we should take people to Christ (John 1:35-44), instead of obscuring God in the eyes of the people (3 John 9).

While it is true that we will not get along with everyone (Romans 12:18), we can do all that we can to place the glories of Christ above our own needs. One way we can destroy the image of Christ in the eyes of the congregation and the public is to make ourselves law.

How can we do that?

We can work things out in our own minds so that we can feel superior to everyone around us.

In our minds, we construct a world where everyone will do everything right. In this world of our own invention, we know exactly how everything should work based on our own opinions and experience. We cannot wait for people to fail so we can gloat.

In the Lord’s church, we should all aspire to the highest level of faith and discipleship. We should be active in the Lord’s work at all times, without fail.

Every member of every congregation should:

  • Be at every worship service, event, meeting, and participate fully in the work of the church.
  • Give above and beyond at all times.
  • Approach and teach others the gospel.
  • Dress and speak appropriately in every situation.
  • Have godly marriages and obedient, godly children.
  • Understand and obey the truth in every point.

Yes, we all should do that. However, none of us will do them perfectly.

We are all sinners in need of grace and the blood of Christ (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:10; Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 John 1:7). In other words, we are all going to be failures in that fake world and there isn’t anything we can do about it. They will always be our superiors and we will be their infantile charges. It is immaterial if they are not perfect.

If we have constructed a perfect world in our minds, we:

  • Elevate our opinions and experiences to the level of Biblical law.
  • Frustrate the saints and make them bitter.
  • Destroy the image of the church in the community.
  • Create a climate of negativity.
  • Deny the gospel by creating salvation by works.
  • Stifle creativity.
  • Forget cultural and racial realities.

We must get out of the way so the body can prosper. People will  fail and we must be patient with them and help them grow. We must teach by word and example.

Positive encouragement will always work better than abuse and bullying. We must release the white-knuckle grip on the congregation so it can breathe and heal so God’s work can thrive and souls can be saved.

 

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Richard lives in Florence, Alabama and is married to Deirdre. They have three daughters. He is an avid reader, devoted writer and lover of history and research. He is the author of "The Most Important Question" and is working on more books.

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