How do you feel about your Church? Do you love it or are you struggling with some things? Our church has been going through a big transition – for the better I believe – but big nonetheless. Y’all, I never realized the emotions that change can stir up in a church… or in myself.
The transition has sent me to the scripture to dig in and check my heart -because I know that thing can be emotionally deceitful. Can I share some of that with you today? I pray it helps you – as it has helped me – hear God’s voice amidst the chaos of fear and emotion about my church home.
Some things I know 100% about church
We are commanded to be part of a local church – Hebrews 10:25
The purpose of the church is to:
- Proclaim the Gospel and equip believers to proclaim the Gospel – 1 Peter 3:15
- Equipping the body to do the work of the ministry – Ephesians 4:11-16
- Encourage each other in the fail – Hebrews 10:25
- Study the word together – Acts 2:42
- Mature or disciple believers – Ephesians 4:14
It is difficult to do any of those things and grow as a believer apart from a local church… and believe me there was a season of my life when I tried – and failed at that! I tried that route because things in the church had happened and i was hurt.
He has taught me how to forgive the hurt and abuse of my past. Praise His name there has even been reconciliation in several relationships – not all… Reconciliation takes both parties to make it work.
I’d love to share my story of Finding a Pathway to Forgiveness. It’s yours free!
Is it fair to evaluate a church?
With each new change in our church I cringe. Why? Because I don’t like change; change means I have to grow. I mean… I’ve always done it that old way and I liked the old way. Those real feelings rise up in my flesh with every change in life.
But change is good – I say to myself if not anyone else.
As these changes bump up against a preference – drawing out an emotional response – I take it to scripture.
I ask the following questions:
- Does this change go against scriptural doctrine?
- Is there a biblical example of this new way in the New Testament?
- Will this change still (or better) fulfill the purpose of a church?
I believe it is our responsibility to look objectively at the way our church functions. That comes from a background of legalism in a church that later went completely off the rails and away from scripture.
I don’t ever want to be in that situation again and I saw it happen piece by slow piece.
So every time there is a change – that stirs that strange feeling in me – I evaluate the change.
Let me be clear that I evaluate it personally – between me and God. If there is something off base about it I take that concern to the pastor – not my girlfriends. There is never a place for emotional gossip and slander within the body of Christ.
What to do if the church fails the test?
If a church is operating outside of scriptural purpose and biblical integrity – you address the issue and leave if it is not going to change. Here is a great piece about Church discipline. I believe that applies to individual believers and the church itself if it has gone rogue.
What to do if the church passes the test but you are still struggling?
I honestly believe that every church is not for every person but, I also believe that our generation switchs churches too much – just because it goes against our preferences.
There is a danger in switching churches often for the wrong reasons.
We need the community – real community – that knows us. When we are in real community with other believers we have accountability and real support when life gets hard. Without that community we tend to not grow or we slid backward altogether.
The Bible warns about this habit of always wanting things to our preference in 2 Timothy 4:3. We have to use caution and be sure we do not move from a church until God tells us to move. God moves people all the time – for His reasons and in His time – but lets be sure He said move before we move.
There is a big piece to this that involves trusting God. Trusting that God places leaders in their position and directs them in His way – at His time. We can trust God to do that wisely… even if we don’t understand all the details. We don’t have to understand all the details – we just have to Trust God.
What do we do if God hasn’t said move but we are still struggling?
If you’ve been around my tribe for any amount of time you know that is always my first bit of advice. Prayer is the most powerful tool in our spiritual tool belt. God can change the world through the fervent prayers of His people! I believe it with all my heart.
Keep praying through the evaluation list and the church purpose list asking God to direct your steps.
And if He keeps you planted, pray for your pastors – even if you are not happy with them at the moment.
Think about how heavely the enemy is attacking you right now. He is planting doubt about things in your life – maybe even about your church. Take that attack and multiply it out 100 times. That is how hard he is attacking your pastors as they seek to serve God in a vocal public way.
We have to cover them in prayer. This is 1 of the best ways to show love and offensively fight back against the enemy of our faith!
- Love to God
- Because He tells us to pray for our leaders – 1 Timothy 2:1-4
- Love to our church
- Because God tells us to love other believers – John 13:34
- Love to ourselves
- Because when things go well with our leaders we can live in peace – Jeremiah 29:7
Spiritual Encouragement to stay the course when things are hard. (Romans 1:11-12)
- Kind words when discouragement comes directly. (Galatians 6:9)
- Hope when faced with too many hard situations in the body (divorces, death, etc.) (1 Corinthians 15:58)
Real Friendships where they can connect and grow. (Proverbs 18:24)
Provision (Philippians 4:19)
Support & Grace from the church body. ( Hebrews 13:17)
Protection from attacks of the Enemy (1 Peter 5:8) against:
- Health (1 Corinthians 9:27)
Let’s commit to being a body of believers who are supporting our local church. We can do that by being a part of it and by praying over it. – Want this list to add to your prayer journal? Click here to download it.
Need to be more intentional in your prayer life?
Are there area’s I missed? Comment below and let me know what else should be on my list to pray for our pastors!
Also, are you struggling right now with where God wants you to plug into the body of Christ? I’d love to pray for you. Just comment below – pray for me.