What do you expect from the church? Most people have some image in their minds as to what they want the church to be and do. But everyone needs to understand that their personal actions and inaction have a great deal of impact upon the strength, vitality, effectiveness and growth of the church. With that in mind, what are some things that can cripple a church?
Absenteeism can cripple a church. Being together when the church gathers to worship is imperative to developing personal spiritual maturity and to being able to encourage the spiritual growth of your fellow members (Heb. 10:23-25). When you purposely miss services, you will naturally get weaker. Your absence tends to discourage your brothers and sisters in Christ who are present. As your spiritual effectiveness suffers, the overall effectiveness of the church suffers.
Unfaithfulness can cripple a church. When members of the church are unfaithful, the church's influence with the world is potentially weakened (Phlp. 2:15-16). Such unfaithfulness can also have a detrimental effect on weaker Christians within the church (1 Cor. 8:12).
Worldliness within the lives of Christians can cripple a church (1 Jn. 2:15). A worldly lifestyle is counterproductive to developing spiritual strength.
Indifference can cripple a church. Apathy, an uncaring attitude will keep a congregation from doing the works that it needs to do as the church and can ultimately lead to its demise (Rev. 3:15-16).
Neglect can cripple a church. We need to be acutely aware of our special identity as the Lord's body and be on guard to never neglect our blessings, or responsibilities, pertaining to that identity (Heb. 2:3). Such realization should motivate us to actively serve God.
Doctrinal compromise can cripple a church. Our distinctiveness is inseparably tied to our stand on what is right. It makes an eternal difference what we believe and teach and practice. We must always and unashamedly stand on, and for, the truth of God's word (1 Tim. 3:15; 2 Tim. 4:1-4).
Contention and gossip can cripple a church (1 Cor. 1:10-11). Of course, gossip is often the stimulus for contention (Ps. 64:1-4). Words have potential power, both for good and evil (Jas. 3:5). The world should see the love of Christ exhibited between Christians (Jn. 13:34-35).
Ignorance of God's word can cripple a church (Acts 17:30). When the members of a congregation don't know what the Bible teaches, the opportunity for error to enter in and take hold is greater (Acts 20:28-30).
A tendency on the part of the member to be hot and cold can cripple a church. The church needs to be persistent and continual in its teaching, work and service. It needs to be dedicated to being the church and not slip back into complacency and worldliness (2 Pet. 2:20-22).
As a Christian you need to be aware that your strength will strengthen the church, and your weakness can cripple it...
Gary L. Hutchens