My experience is that finding a church that will challenge me to grow and allows the Spirit of God to lead is a rare find! Every church has good people and people who play games. The key is to find a church where the leaders (pastor’s and lay people) rely on God’s Spirit to lead them. It’s way too easy to take God’s church and make it our own. I know of one church where the goal was to make their church our small church on the hill. That’s what they did. It’s their church. It’s on a hill. And they do it their way! And of course it’s small and will get smaller as time goes on.
If the Holy Spirit is to lead our churches we must give them to Him! We must allow His Word to determine our mission, our values, and our priorities! Key decisions need to be bathed in prayer! In addition we need to be still and listen! We must learn to lovingly challenge one another to be more like Jesus! We need to select leaders who seek God’s will and direction and park their opinions at the back door. We need to be dreaming and scheming as to how we can help our people reach out effectively to others. We need to be aware of the culture around us and the dangers that culture brings into the life of the church. We need to be both ambassadors of the message of God’s love and defenders of the truth.
We need to recognize that the message of Jesus will never be popular to the culture as a whole but, recognize that it speaks to those disillusioned and broken by the culture at hand. Churches that are led by God are led by broken, flawed people who seek and rely on the Spirit. Those church leaders that are haughty, arrogant, filled with their own agendas, and driven by their own opinions may be leading churches but, they are no longer led by God. We must not allow the teaching of the church to be changed by the culture. However, we couch the gospel message in language that helps people understand the principles of God that still leads them into a relationship with Jesus Christ.
To be God’s church we must point others to Jesus! We must challenge people to grow in their faith and be obedient to God’s Word. We must spur one another on to love and good works. That is a church that will be blessed by God.