Our Failed Witness - The Broken Local Church

Local churches are often tragically filled with power struggles, gossip, and tearing one another down.  Instead of living int his fallen state, we need to intentionally use every opportunity to build one another up rather than to tear each other down.  Nobody wants to go to a church where people attack one another, but they will want to go to a church where they are encouraged, challenged, and uplifted. 

What we do is contagious.    Love fosters more love; gossip fosters more gossip.  Have you ever noticed how you start being negative around a negative person?  Have you noticed how other people can bring out the best in you?

Studies have shown that yawning is contagious. 

But even more seriously, I have noticed that our sins are contagious.  I had a professor who was once the youth minister at a church where the pastor was arrested for molesting children.  It eventually was uncovered that four adults were molesting children.  What we do in secret has a tendency to be contagious whether we want it to be or not.  I can’t explain why, just like scientists can’t explain why yawns are contagious.

A bad group of people will tear one another down and prohibit one another from reaching their potential.  A good group of  people will build one another up helping each another achieve far more than they ever thought possible.  So in our families and in our churches, let’s focus on being people that build one another up.  We need to be a culture of truth and love, a culture where people can experience Jesus’ love.  A culture where our love is contagious.

But we have an enemy who does not want that.  This week someone started a fire at the Park Station, the future home of the Antwerp Community Youth Center.  Since I believe that there is an evil force in this world, I think that Satan is trying to stop our work.  He doesn’t want the youth center to go forward because it would change lives for the better.  But Satan’s attacks aren’t always as obvious as a fire.  They can come in the off-handed comment toward someone or the telling of a negative thing about someone behind their back; the more we give in to these negative attacks, the more vicious they become.  If Satan can divide us, the church will be ineffective.  So we need to be careful to not let him get a foothold.  Our mission here is too important to jeopardize through bad mouthing or gossiping about one another.

A.W. Tozer taught in The Pursuit of God, “Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers [meeting] together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to become 'unity' conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship.”

We are unified with people, no matter what church they worship at, if we are tuned to the same Jesus.  Seeking unity does not make unity happen; unity happens when a group of people seek God and let Him shape them into what He wants them to be. When I go to church, I see many good people who give a lot of their time to help one another and make their community better.  With all that said, every church needs to keep Jesus as their focus.  Imagine what can be done if we would be the church that God wants us to be, loving the community the way God would have us, encouraging one another when we get together, and seeking out God’s better way for our lives through teaching and study of the word.  We will grow and be able to do more.  We will be contagious, in a good way.