Jesus said, “I will build My church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)  NOTE: Monday’s post will explore the other side of this coin… “Churches Glorifying God” will be the title (God willing).

I believe Jesus… Satan will NOT overcome The Universal Church.  At the same time, I am troubled as I hear about  congregations and the troubles taking place within them!  Consider the following situations I’ve heard of from reliable friends in the past two weeks… (Caveat: None of these are the church I presently serve.):

Church #1: Long time pastor was called to another congregation.  An interim came that many in the church wanted to become their pastor.  The search team disagreed.  The interim left… a battle started between the search team and congregation… last Sunday night about one third of the congregation left the church for good.

Church #2: A church in a growing community called a staff member that became the source of contention within the staff… and the congregation.  As a result of this, and a few other factors, people began leaving.  Now the attendance is close to half of what it was 5 years ago because of the problems. Many are wondering what is going on and don’t know what to do.

Church #3: At one time this church was the flagship congregation of the town.  It was involved in missions and birthing other congregations.  Many young men were called to the ministry there.  Now the church is running a fraction of what they had in the past.  There is confusion and disharmony after a long tenured pastor left.  It only got worse when the music minister left under pressure.  Now the church cannot decide what to do as more people continue to leave.

Church #4. Then there is the congregation where the pastor absconded with tens of thousands of dollars… of course it was church money.  The church terminated him, but chose not to prosecute according to 1 Corinthians 6:7.  However, the Lord has a sharp pencil and a long memory for such men…

Church #5. Attendance has been going down for a number of years.  As a result the church leadership decided to save money by terminating a support staff member.  So they called him in… gave him a two week notice… and that was that.  No severance… no other explanation… no help in finding another place of ministry.  In two weeks he was out on his own with no help from the church he’d served for a number of years.

My Personal Experience: The first three churches I served fired the pastor prior to me with the third one pressuring 5 of 7 pastors leave (Going back to 1953), and that does not include other ministerial staff.  The fourth church I served had competing factions and constant arguing that came close to splitting the congregation at one point.

Given these situations and what Jesus said, one of these statements is true…

Jesus was wrong… OR…

Satan is more powerful than God… OR…

The church is not being the church.

Of these options, the third is happening and is the only answer that fits the question.  The church is not being the church. How can that be?  Here are a few suggestions… (Remember, tomorrow I’ll write about the opposite of these situations {God willing}):

A pastor’s administrative skills and visiting are more important to many churches than the strong preaching and exposition of Scripture.  And the church has suffered…

Infighting, power, and control are major issues within the congregation when it comes to making decisions.  Rather than follow the Shepherd God has given the congregation to lead them, people have bucked what God put in place for how the church is to function.  In other words, the sheep are running the show.

Ministers are lacking in servant leadership skills (1 Peter 5).  Staff are not held accountable for improper conduct and/or a poor work ethic.  Bottom line, many staff are unqualified to serve in a church and their ineptitude is harming the congregation.

The wolves and tares in the congregation are not being handled the way Scripture commands.  This means in many instances the tail wags the dog and the church is suffering.

What is the answer? CLICK HERE. Revival.  Awakening.  Reformation.  Faithful servant ministers.  Godly leadership.  Prayer.  Repentance.  Forgiveness.  Love.