Summary: A sermon to deal with dissension and other harmful areas to the unity of a church.
Let me start out this morning by saying that we are very blessed. We started this church in a small conference room in Mesa last September. In November, we moved to Chandler with 4 people and a vision from God.
Today, just 5 short months later, we have a very wonderful place to come and worship our Lord, and we average nearly 50 per service. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t feel absolutely awed by the blessings God has given us.
I am in regular contact with several other local pastors. Some are from very big churches and some are from not-so-big churches. There are a few things, though, that they share in common with one another.
They all have years of experience. They have all planted churches in their pasts. And, they all truly care that this church succeeds for the Lord. They care so much that they are very free in giving advice and suggestions. (Boy! Do they ever give advice !!)
Seriously, I am very happy they do. When I was in the Navy stationed in the Washington DC area, it was my duty to make the weather forecast for the next two days. I will tell you that I consistently received congratulatory letters for being so accurate. I was almost 100% right all the time. I’m not bragging. Let me tell you how I did that. I took the weather forecasts that 50 of the local forecasters around me had already come up with, and I simply averaged them out. It was not my intelligence or acumen that showed how good I was. It was other people’s information that I used to help me. I put my own ego aside and used other peoples’ knowledge and information – not so that I would get glory, but that no planes would go down on my watch.
In the same way, I try and use as many of the other pastors’ information as I can to help this church out. Some of their suggestions can be deleted as soon as I see them, for they would not work in our church. For instance, one pastor said I should consider sending out a mass mailing of 20,000 brochures to let people know we were here. I threw that one out because if we mailed out that kind of mailing, and they all came, we wouldn’t have enough chairs for them to sit in! See, there’s a method to my madness.
Some suggestions look as if they’d work later on, so I keep them on the back burner. And then there are some suggestions that I know we need to look at and implement immediately. That is what I want to talk to you about this morning.
I have received the same warning from nearly every of them within the last month or so. They are all telling me that at this church’s age and size, this is where bad things start to happen. They are giving me their knowledge, based on personal experiences, so that we can keep those things from happening within this family. And, since all of them are saying the same thing, I have no other recourse but to see it as something God wants us to pay attention to.
Normally, I try to give a message that would enable you in some way to get a little closer to, or to get more information about Jesus. A message that might allow you to instill a bit more of Him into your daily lives. Today’s message is going to be a bit different. I am going to talk to you about how to keep a church from being torn apart at its seams. I am going to talk to you about CrossWinds Bible Church and how to help it survive the onslaught from the enemy.
I believe that God has had His hand in this church from the very first day. I believe that because I know me. I do not have any skills whatsoever to have done the things I have done, or said the things I have said without God giving them to me, as I needed them.
This may surprise you, but I am not the most gifted of speakers ….. (ahem, I am waiting for you to disagree) ….. I am not the most brilliant of men, and I am certainly not the most biblically knowledgeable person you could meet. But, I am focused, and I am willing to put me aside and concentrate on what I believe God is telling me to do.
Through these other pastors, God has given us advance warning of some of the things that can destroy a church, and He now expects us to safeguard our church against them.
I believe that too many churches let their congregations come in, sit, listen, enjoy some fellowship, then go home again – all without telling them what their duty and their obligation to that church is. This makes for content, albeit somewhat non-focused congregation, wouldn’t you agree?