for churches

If you’ve done any amount of “church shopping” before finding the church you currently attend, you know that it’s difficult to find a good church. God is perfect and so is the Bible but when you add the human element, that’s where things can go off track. Add to that a spiritual enemy that has been working for 2000 years to hinder the effectiveness of church, and you begin to see why finding a good church can be so challenging.

It could be said that a church can only be as effective as it’s pastor is spiritually, mentally and emotionally healthy. If that’s true, it is imperative that those attending the church regularly pray for the pastor’s protection, guidance and healing from anything that could hinder his leadership. Few realize the work a pastor puts into preparing his messages week after week, year after year. Pray that God will guide him to write the messages that those listening need to hear.

I have seen a situation where an effective Godly pastor was brought in to work with a church that was struggling but was unable to get it back on course because of the stubbornness of the congregation. That said, we can also be praying for each other within the church. Some attending may think they are saved but are only religious. Pray that God will break through to them and they will in fact become saved believers. Some are too distracted to take in what is being taught. Pray that they’ll be able to look past the distractions and hear and be transformed. Others may just want to complain. Set an example for them in grace, gratitude and understanding. Too many are content to listen and agree with the pastor, but walk away unchanged. As the Holy Spirit leads you, pray for those who attend church with you.

As you pray, also remember that the church you attend is one of thousands of churches in America, and far more in the rest of the world. Pray that the pastors of the many churches will be lead to clearly and accurately share from God’s word. Also pray they will be protected from various temptations that could hinder their effectiveness or lead to their downfall. Pray that those attending will grow in their faith and effectively share the Gospel of salvation. Imagine the protective shield that would be created if we all prayed for each other! “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Ephesians 6:18)

The whole sum of believers in Christ is often referred in scripture as the body of Christ. “Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.” (I Corinthians 12:20) Each member of a body has a specific role. It’s important for you to learn what role God would have for you, and serve others in that role. There are tests online that can be taken, but their accuracy is unknown. Some say the best way to know is listen to what others tell you you’re good at in regards to your Christian walk. You would do well to ask God Himself to reveal it to you. It would seem that if you try to serve in an area and it consistently goes poorly that may not be your gifting. The important thing is don’t just be an observer and let others do what needs to be done. Seek to serve others. It’s what Jesus did for us and we’re not greater than our Master.

To balance the message of serving, we can consider the account of Martha and Mary. “Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42) While Martha may have had good intentions, she was “distracted with much serving”. In doing so, she also harbored resentment for her sister focused on Jesus‘ words. Don’t let yourself become so busy serving in church that you don’t have time to focus on the purpose of church - namely to grow spiritually and to glorify God. If the service needs to be simplified and programs eliminated in order to allow this to happen, that would be a wise choice.

Finally, it’s a common misconception that it’s the pastor’s job to witness to the lost and not our job. The great commission is for all of us. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19a). “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” (Romans 10:14) God calls us to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31) What’s the most important thing someone’s done for you? I trust that it was being faithful to share the gospel with you as God prompted them at just the right so that you could get saved. This is the best thing we can do for those in our lives.

To learn more, continue on to the heading “the basics of faith”.