What causes a church not to grow? Why do so many churches struggle to survive? One reason would be that it is God’s privilege to cause the growth of any given church body; the choice is up to Him to allow it. We see in Acts 2:47, “And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.” But we also see in the verses preceding that the fledgling church was doing certain things that seemed to encourage that action by God. They were looking out for each other, sharing in communion with each other, or identifying with Christ, and embracing Christ as their common denominator of Salvation. They were sharing with each other as any had need. They were sharing meals with each other, praising God and having favor with all people.
Do we see struggling churches evidencing this kind of behavior? This kind of attitude? Or do we see individuals come to church, as individuals, worship as individuals, leave as individuals, and go home as individuals? There is so much exhortation in Scripture to be the Body of Christ, the corporate body of Christ. That means we are to be inter-connected with each other, not isolated from one another. We are to worship together, eat meals together, and help each other out in times of need. In short, we are to be knit together.
I regret to say it, but it seems in this country, individualism is the norm. We do not embrace the national pride of some of the other countries. Oh, don’t get me wrong. We all step it up when it comes to the Olympics, or maybe even a war. But when it comes down to brass tacks in the everyday world, the words of the day are, “Me, My, Myself, and mine.” My house, my car, my 401k, my ministry. In short, it is about each of us individually. This attitude is a killer of any church, as it does not exhibit the love that God wants to be seen by everybody in the world.
Christ prayed in John 17:
John 17:11, “Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are.”
And John 17: 20-21, “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.”
In this prayer, Christ prayed to God the Father that we in the Church would exhibit unity, so that the world may believe that the Father sent the Son. Basically, one affirmation that Christ was sent by the Father was that His Body, His Church was able to go against the historical norms of mankind and actually get along, love each other, and behave like a loving family.
So, the next time you go to church to worship, remember, you to do it as a team. We are the Church! We glorify God together.
So, grab a glove and get in the game.