7 Ways To Stifle Any Church
1. Gossip. Slandering brothers and sisters in Christ is guaranteed to hurt feelings, destroy morale and disrupt unity. In fact, few things choke the life out of a congre gation as quickly as gossip. I know of dozens of Christians that have left the church because they grew weary of the gossip. (James 4:11 Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.)
2. Complaining. Incessant grumbling, murmuring and whining about new ideas, activities and works can dishearten even the most dedicated saints. I know of several fine preachers that left the ministry because they could no longer bear the complaining. (Philippians 2:14 Do all things without complaining and disputing…)
3. The desire for vainglory. Some in the Lord’s church crave the attention and praise of men. Moreover they become jealous of those that receive more recognition than they do. To compensate, they resort to tearing down, belittling, and demeaning the good that others do, while seeking to exalt or promote self. (Galatians 5:26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.)
4. Jealousy. Similar to those mentioned above, some cannot bear the thought of other Christians possessing more talent, ability, or ambition to serve the Lord than they. Instead of encouraging others in the use of their abilities, they opt to criticize, nit-pick and find fault. (Galatians 5:26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.)
5. Know-it-alls. Some actually believe that they “know it all”. That is, they “know” the best way to organize programs, teach classes, arrange tables, lead in worship, plan fellowships or decorate bulletin boards. If others fail to heed their “suggestions” (orders) the “know it alls” quickly criticize and complain about the “substandard” results. (Galatians 5:26a Let us not become conceited…)
6. Childishness. Instead of focusing on the real work of the church (spreading the Gospel, saving souls and edifying her members), some prefer to spend their time concentrating on petty, frivolous issues. They revel in enlisting others to join them in childish conversations (and behavior). By persisting, they distract others from focusing on the Great Commission and the real priorities of the church. (I once criticized a group of elders for spending 4 hours deciding whether to replace an aging bus and less than 4 minutes discussing the souls of wayward members.) (2 Timothy 2:23 But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.)
7. “Read-my-mind” mentality. I am referring to members that become offended at others… WITHOUT DIVULGING THE REASON. Thus their behavior becomes aloof (or different) towards the person they are offended at, while expecting the “offender” to know precisely why. The problem is that the “offender” often has no clue as to what he/she did to cause a problem. All they know is that something is different… and hurt feelings and confusion invariably result. (Matthew 18:15 Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.)
The aforementioned 7 items have done incalculable damage to the Lord’s church and have discouraged countless Christians. If you are a “contributor”, please do the church a favor: STOP. God will bless you for it!
Jesus, always Jesus!