This past Wednesday, I had an incredible opportunity to connect with other pastors and leaders in small churches. This was both encouraging and challenging. One of the ways I was deeply refreshed by this roundtable was the variety of denominations and churches represented. Rather than hurling rocks at each others’ churches through jealousy and bitterness, we joined together as brothers and sisters in Christ united by the Gospel.
Leading a small church can be incredibly lonely. If you do not guard your heart, the toxic effects of discouragement and disillusionment will rob you of your joy and shipwreck your ministry. On top of this, many pastors struggle with forming friendships with other churches in their area due to minor arguments.
This reminds me of what Paul instructed the immature church in Corinth:
“For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers, by members of Chloe’s household, that there is rivalry among you. What I am saying is this: Each of you says, ‘I’m with Paul,’ or ‘I’m with Apollos,’ or “I’m with Cephas,’ or ‘I’m with Christ.’ Is Christ divided? Was it Paul who was crucified for you? Or were you baptized in Paul’s name?” – 1 Corinthians 1:11-13
Conflict and rivalry infiltrates our churches through secondary matters. Often when small church pastors begin to build a community with leaders from other denominations, their hope for friendship is crushed against a brick wall of secondary issues.
Let’s keep the main thing the main thing. Let’s set our eyes upon Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. Let’s celebrate the Gospel and the beauty of God revealed in and through the person of Jesus Christ. Let’s stand side-by-side, laboring together to advance God’s message of love into the brokenness and darkness of our communities.
In essence, it takes all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people. We are on the same team!!
Have you ever experienced the pain of churches attacking each other over secondary matters? Why do YOU think this happens? Let me know by leaving a comment!