I don’t claim to be an expert on the church, so please don’t think that I see myself as such. In the time that God has allowed our family to be in ministry, 10 years, I have observed one thing that keeps churches from God’s blessing and moving forward. This one thing will hurt a church more than anything else.
In fact, this is the one thing it seems satan tries to cause if he can’t get sin into the church or false doctrine.
What is the biggest struggle in local churches we’ve seen?
A lack of unity is the biggest struggle churches face.
Be a small church, or large church, we see the churches that have God’s hand on them and the ones that don’t have a single difference. The difference is that churches with God’s power are in one accord. Things like leadership style, convictions, vision, former pastors, and other Christians can have a part in how a Christian responds to the direction of his local church.
Not only have we seen this from traveling and preaching, we’ve seen this very struggle in the church God called us to start.
Without getting into too much detail, let me give some short points on the importance of unity and how a lack of it can hinder a local church.
Read Matthew 18:21-35
After Jesus proclaimed He would start His church (Matthew 16:18), He goes on to share a large lesson on forgiveness, local church fellowship, and His presence when people are unified in a local church.
Read Acts 2:41-47
The church Jesus started was empowered in Acts 2. One of the marks of an empowered church is that they were unified locally under leadership, doctrine, and fellowship. It is stated that they: Continued steadfastly, were together, had all things common, in one accord, and had singleness of heart. Notice also the grounds for fellowship was that they first continued in doctrine (Acts 2:42). Doctrine always supersedes fellowship. It must also be noted that this is a local church started by Jesus and not a universal church started by the Holy Ghost.
Read 1 Corinthians 1:10-13
The very introduction to this troubled worldly church is that they are divided. He goes on to talk more about a strong body working together in the rest of this letter. Each member was to work together for the common goal of fulfilling the Great Commission as found in Matthew 28. The very fact that were divided led to the lack of fulfilling God’s command (1 Corinthians 15:34) and also brought in horrible sins.
The Entire Book Of Philippians
This entire epistle is geared toward the church of Philippi ‘striving together’. Paul admonished this church to receive Timothy because he was liked minded as Paul, and went on to urge them to be at peace with each other in chapter 4.
Read 2 Timothy 2:2
The context of this is the charge Paul gave to Timothy, prior to his departure from this world. In doing so, Paul was concerned that the ‘same’ would be passed on. In order to keep doctrine and the Gospel the ‘same’, we must be in agreement to pass it on.
The devil loves division. It is strongest his tactic to hurt ‘giants’ of the faith. Adam and Eve were divided from God’s command in the garden. Cain and Abel had a division that led to the first murder. King David had division in his home that led to division in the kingdom. Jesus had Judas, that led to His crucifixion. While it was planned, it was this division that accomplished the task. The church of Jerusalem had division with Ananias and Sapphira which led to their death. I think you get the point.
So, how does one overcome this? It is found back in the Gospel of Matthew 18. Forgive and seek reconciliation. The reason it is so hard is twofold:
- We have bitterness
- We are not willing to admit we are wrong or that someone else was right
Let us get over our pride and seek to be unified in our local church so that God’s power and blessing will be upon our churches. With this blessing of Biblical unity in a local church, we will able to fulfill the command and commission Jesus gave His church in Matthew 28.
The sad reality is that in the modern day in which we live, there are many influences that keep us from being unified in our own local church (radio, YouTube, Podcasts, para-church conference, etc.). If you get anything out of this post, go back to your own local church and seek to be in unification with that pastor and help serve in your local church. We had the LOCAL CHURCH before we ever had the internet, radio, and conferences. The answer is not in another local church. The answer is in you following Biblical leadership and local church authority.