Don’t Stop Growth
No parent in his/her right mind wants to thwart the growth of a child God has given to them. The physical, mental, social, and especially spiritual growth of children is always on the mind of good godly parents. It is unconscionable for parents to deliberately hinder the growth of a child in any of these areas.
It is sickening to read or hear of children being starved or tortured. Our laws are solidly against child abuse or any kind. Some time ago a new report told of a child being found chained in a closet. The child was malnourished and sick. Had the officials not intervened, no doubt the innocent child would have died. All right thinking people recognize just how reprehensible this is.
Think of the local church as a growing organism — in the same way a child is to grow. It would be as reprehensible and sinful to hinder the growth of a local church just as it would be with a child. I have known several local churches that began to show growth, both numerical and spiritual, that came to an impasse and stopped growing. Why? Let me suggest a few things that will hinder congregational growth and development.
1. Factionalism. I put this at the top of the list. Factionalism is usually a group of contentious and opinionated Christians who seek to control the mind and activity of others. They usually are a minority in a larger group, but are very active. It doesn’t take but one factious person to disrupt the growth of a local church. The God of heaven severely condemns it (Gal. 5:20).
2. Failure to cooperate. The growth of any local congregation is commensurate with the amount of cooperation that exists among all the members. After Paul warned of false doctrine and factionalism, he wrote, “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (Eph. 4:15-16, NIV). I think this fits the context of Paul’s words. Instead of fussing and fighting over non-essential issues, each of us in the same local congregation should join and hold together. How? By “every supporting ligament (member) doing his/her part of the total work.
3. Indifference. The ultimate result of factionalism going to seed and doing its nefarious work is indifference. Excitement is dead where we are indifferent. Where there is no excitement in a local church, there will be no growth. We won’t worry about saving others; we won’t encourage others, and we won’t grow as God expects us to grow. May God help us to avoid any and all hindrances to growth.
Let us all determine that we will never hinder the growth of the Lord’s church, but to the contrary, will join in whole heartedly in bring others to the Lord through actively and zealously spreading his word. Let us all determine to help, and never hinder, the growth of the church- DRS
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