10 More Essential Things to Tell People About the Church
- Tuesday, April 12, 2011
11. Healthy churches have conflicts. That's not all bad.
My friend George Bullard has written a book and conducts conferences under the title, Every Church Needs a Little Conflict.
The way to build a muscle is to apply stress to it. One way to strengthen a congregation is to send conflict in healthy-sized doses. Working their way through the problems develops muscles for the bigger, scarier issues when they arise.
Woe to the congregation that gets hit by a major problem when it has not had to deal with one of any size in ages.
An old pastor once told some of us about the little church he was serving. "There's always something going on at Shiloh," he said. "But that's all right. After all, where there's no friction, there's no traction."
It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn your statutes. (Psalm 119:71)
12. You know that wonderful church you left behind and would like to find another just like it? There's not one.
God's churches are like His children: no two are alike. Think of the variety He has established in creation. No two humans alike, no two fingerprints, hair-patterns on the head, voice prints. Snowflakes. We're told the stripes of zebras and tigers are all unique.
It would seem that the Creator has an innate dislike to repeating Himself. And, it would appear He's not alone in that.
Somewhere I heard of a tourist bartering with a craftsman concerning a chair the man had just made. The chairmaker quoted a price of $100. The tourist said, "Fine. Now, what if I order six chairs? What will your price be?" The craftsman said, "One thousand dollars." "What?" said the visitor. "I expected the price to be lower since I'm buying six." The craftsman said, "Making six chairs all alike is very difficult and extremely boring. For that, I expect to be paid more."
13. Churches are always in a state of flux.
Every time a member moves away, that church changes. When someone joins, it changes. When a member begins reading his Bible or tithing or witnessing, the church grows. When someone backslides, it grows weaker from that moment.
People speak of wanting "a New Testament church." However, the congregations in the New Testament are as different as the ones in your city. The Corinthian church seems to have been as carnal as any we could find today. Five of the seven churches of Asia Minor (Revelation 2) had serious defects.
As with our physical bodies, every church exists in a constant state of change--growing, expanding, deflating, weakening, moving out, pulling in. No church is static.
Your church is growing or it is dying.
14. The most reliable indicator of the faith of a congregation is prayer.
Nothing believers do speaks of faith so eloquently or forcefully as does our praying.
Most of the prayers we utter, we never see the answer. We pray for the president and other leaders of our country, but we have no way of knowing the difference our intercessions made. We were not in the Oval Office when the president had a sudden flash of inspiration and did something brilliant. We are not alongside the missionaries across the globe who are protected or empowered or guided as a result of our prayers.
We pray for our minister, but since we are unable to accompany him in his study or on his rounds, it becomes a faith thing. God and he alone know the difference our prayers made.
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