“It’s the economy or that other political party.” “It’s that big church that moved in.” Isn’t it amazing how people in the church pass the blame of the church’s decline on so many factors outside the church? Seldom do we hear declining churches accepting responsibility for the decline. Could the same be true of your personal life? Are you blaming outside sources for the disappointments or setbacks in your life? Perhaps it is time to accept responsibility, pull up your bootstraps, and move forward.
Do you have power over the economy? No. Do you have control over the weather? No. Do you have control over that big church that moved in down the street? No. In our personal lives and in the church, we tend to lay blame where we have no control. The only thing you have control over is that which God has blessed you.
In the church what you have power with is the giftings of the people God has brought into your church. Each time you or someone in your church blames outside sources for something your church is not accomplishing, you are denying that God has the power to accomplish it. We quote scripture and state that He who is within us (God) is greater than he who is in the world. Yet, our actions deny that God is more powerful than he who is in the world.
True, there is a declining interest in the church among the outside world in recent decades. However, do you not believe there have been other times like this in centuries gone by? God has overcome each of those seemingly godless societies and He has the power to overcome the godliness of our generation.
Churches must once again become spiritual leaders in local communities and around the world. This is what Jesus called us to in Acts 1:8 and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Effective Leaders identify and address needed changes. Effective spiritual leaders identify and address needed changes not only within the body of the church but also within the community. This is how God works through the church to reach the community and rippling out into the world.
What we see today is many churches attempting to identify style changes within the church expecting to affect the community. Changing the name of the church, dropping any part of the name that “we feel” might offend or not be appealing to outsiders, changing music style, or move to “seeker-sensitive” teaching styles.
While we are responsible for delivering God’s message in a relevant manner, style never addresses the true cause. Style only addresses symptoms. Style never addresses the true issue. Isn’t the biggest issue today that we, the church, are not being obedient in fulfilling the Great Commission?
My challenge for you today is to pray, asking God to reveal to you personally how you can begin anew in shouldering the responsibility and assisting/leading your church to do the same. Ask God with a sincere heart to guide you in accepting your personal responsibility.