Meanderings of a Minister

Is There A Saboteur In Your Church?
May 10, 2013, 8:30 pm
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Open Season

If you are like many people, you have seen movies or read books about World War II. You cannot watch or read very far without encountering the concept of sabotage. For instance, when I was a kid, there was a show on television called, “Hogan’s Heroes”. The main characters were locked in a German Concentration Camp, Stalag 13. It seems that they wanted to be there because they often would escape and go into town for this or that and then return. The main job of Colonel Hogan and his compatriots was to undermine the German war effort and pass along information to the Allies. They were saboteurs.
As I am on a Sabbatical (extended time off granted by my church to relax and refocus and revision), I have been reflecting on how the ministry of the church is going. What directions do we need to go in the future? What are our strengths? Our weaknesses? What do we need to do to help people understand the gospel better? How can we get some of the hundreds of attenders to take the leap to become members? How can we get some of our members that used to be more active to plug back in? How can we get some of our members to step up to lead and teach?
As I have been thinking about these things, a book by Colin S. Smith, entitled, 10 Keys to Unlocking the Christian Life, brought up the idea that some of the problems of the church might be due to a saboteur in our midst. Perhaps there is something that is actually working against what we are working so hard for. You may know about First Southern Baptist Church as we do a lot in the community. You may know how much work our wonderful people are willing to do to love on people and tell them that Jesus Loves Them and So Do We! With all of that work, wouldn’t it be a shame if there was a saboteur in our midst undoing everything we do? Sound too fantastic to be true? Consider the following verses:

“You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:5–7, NASB95)

If God opposes the proud and we are instructed to clothe ourselves with humility towards one another, then pride in the church could actually be a hindrance that is undoing what we have been doing. Perhaps the reason that we don’t see more people saved, more people move into meaningful membership, or more people move into leadership and teaching positions is because pride has secretly moved into the church and is working against us and is informing the enemy of our strategies for winning the war.
What might be some ways that you see pride in your church?
1. What attitude comes to mind when you hear of the struggles of another church?
2. When comparing your church to another faithful, Bible teaching church, do you look down on them, or are you envious of them?
3. Do you tend to criticize other churches that worship differently than you?
4. Do you tend to look down on churches that are not as contemporary as you or are more contemporary than you?
5. Do you find that you talk to people more about your church than you do about your Lord?
While these are just some indicators, there could be a lot more. So…what is a person to do about pride in their church? Simply what the scripture says. Choose every day to focus on thanking God for what He has done, cast your cares on Him and trust Him to work them out, and choose to clothe yourself with humility. Who knows, you just might find out that what you thought was worth bragging about or hanging on to is actually the very thing that has been working against you.


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