Church competition is alive and well, my friends!
We hear comments from our friends…We read statements on social media…We read blogs…Sometimes I get e-mails from a friend when he’s convinced his pastor is talking about my church (generally when he references “those other Christians” or “some churches around here”…and it’s to say that we don’t really believe the Bible because of our moderate to liberal position…that “some churches aren’t Bible-believing churches”…which, I’m not even sure what that means…what exactly is a “Bible-believing” church???)
Yes, my church is better than your church! Well, at least in my opinion.
Of course, you probably believe that your church is better than my church. Well, at least according to you.
Of course, one of us is wrong!
Then again, maybe we’re both wrong?
What makes your church better than my church? Theology? Worship style? Size of the congregation? Participation in missions? Number of small groups and Bible studies?
We compete in a number of ways. We pit Calvinism against Arminianism…Protestants versus Catholics…conservatives versus liberals…fundamentalists against everyone…contemporary versus traditional…low church versus high church…emerging church against everyone…and then there is Westboro Baptist.
I’m thrilled when I hear about people who are extremely passionate and excited about their local church.
However, I find myself growing tired of the attempts to “one-up” one another. Isn’t that what church wars are all about…me trying to prove to you that my church is superior to yours? Me trying to demonstrate that, while your efforts are nice, they aren’t even comparable to the amount of awesome that is my church?
Regardless of theology, size, etc…we really shouldn’t be in competition with one another. We might disagree on a number of issues. However, if we’re both trying to convey the love of Christ, shouldn’t we lay down the competition?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad you love your church. I love my church too. I just don’t feel like we need to compete. I’m glad your church is doing whatever it’s doing…it doesn’t make your church any better and mine any worse. I’m glad my church is doing what it’s doing…it doesn’t make my church any better and yours any worse.
The reality is that we should be celebrating one another’s successes and supporting one another through failures. God uses big churches. God uses small churches. God uses conservative churches. God uses moderate churches. God uses liberal churches. At the same time, there are unhealthy big churches. There are unhealthy small churches. There are unhealthy conservative, moderate, and liberal churches.
We’re all hoping to connect people with Jesus as we love God and love one another, right? When we compete, we aren’t doing a very good job of loving one another.
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By the Spirit, we are the church! One body many parts. I Cor. 12