Friday, July 17, 2009

WHEN CONGREGATIONS STRUGGLE

When we are in a church that struggles for growth, for encouragement, and for life, what can be done? Well, let's consider a few ideas and see if God pricks the hearts of some which might advance the kingdom of God in your area.

First...the more a congregation views itself advanced or ahead of other congregations, bad leaven is growing while most likely unnoticed. Do you not think it strange that strong emphasis on "our doctrine" does not seem to set our towns ablaze? Why is that? Blaming the town for its darkness, or picking at a neighboring church for its lack, isn't profitable.

Unity is a major call of God; yet we justify division under the theme of being "more faithful than they". They don't believe things right. They don't do things right. An assortment of judged issues come into play. But the truth is Christianity is ruined by our divisiveness and we don't blink at our betrayal to his prayer. For some reason we count our smugness as faithfulness; yet it won't stand against the call for harmony and love in the Lord.

Second...before new paint and carpet or a better speaker is brought into the works, I would check the "life thermometer" of the present core of attendees. It could be the case that should a visitor pass through they do not find passionate members in love with God or with each other. Rather, they find brand name Christians carrying out their brand name duties under the banner of their brand name just wishing some others would join in on their brand name ministries. This causes death. Look around.

Third...maybe worship inventory would be a good place to check under the hood of the church. Is God truly being praised or are church services being held? There is a difference. America holds church services. Saints praise the Lord, in tune or out of tune, with heart-felt singing, robust study, and gratitudinal fellowship because there is abundant adoration and credit afforded toward God upon His great throne.

Fourth...it could be entire congregations need to repent of their own sins rather than study the Bible in classes to discuss how the world is going to hell in a hand-basket. Maybe churches deteriorate because we are not yet who we need to be. Self-adjustment is always a healthy place to start.

Fifth and finally...maybe it would help to gather those who would (men and women together) to pray. And when we pray, let us pray not with wanting and needing and wishing...but thanking. Let your thanksgivings be known to God, Paul wrote. This has changed the framework of prayer for me. When you thank God for things that are now and aren't yet, it's amazing what begins to develop....Romans 4:17-25.

This note reaches into many settings. Each knows the condition of the hearts in your area much better than me. However, as I wrote to all I wondered if some of the above might be something you could use. I'm suggesting some of it might.

Good for you in that you have the energy and the desire for congregational improvement. This is a strong signal your faith still lives.

3 comments:

Brian said...

Profound and insightful. I am still a learner and listener in the kingdom realm of believers!

Anonymous said...

It seems as though the "church" has too often demanded to be "right" instead of being righteous. We loose sight of the blessing God brings to our lives, holiness. May we all surrender to be righteous........the only way we will ever be "right." Thanks for the words of encouragement brother!

Eddie

westcoastwitness said...

A good word, Terry.