Are You Playing Church Whack-a-Mole?
It seems that everywhere I go, I hear grumbling about church. My adult friends are complaining. The teenagers I work with are complaining. The people at my own church are complaining. The people I encounter from other churches are complaining. I guess it's become acceptable or even en vogue for Christians to bash our churches.
And it's starting to feel like a game of whack-a-mole.
"The worship at my church just doesn't do it for me." Whack!
"The pastor's sermons just aren't interesting." Whack!
"My youth group is full of cliques." Double whack!
"My Sunday school class is lame." Whack! "Our youth facility is boring" Whack! "We don't do as much cool stuff as the church down the street." Whack! "The church is full of hypocrites who don't take their faith as seriously as I do." Whack, whack, whack!
It seems like there is always something popping up in our churches that gives us cause to grumble. And the result of all that hammering is taking a toll. Think about it. If we are constantly hammering the faults in our churches, who becomes the mole? The other Christians in our church who are doing their best to serve Jesus? The leadership in our church who give their time and energy and likely hear more criticism than praise? Jesus Himself who designed the church and desires to use her to benefit you and draw others toward Himself?
I know your churches aren't perfect. Neither is mine. God knows that too and yet He calls her His bride. I think it is fine to offer ideas for positive change, but there's a difference between looking for ways to make our churches better vessels for God's message and taking every opportunity to tear them down by griping and complaining.
There must have been some whack-a-mole playing in Paul's day, too. To the church in Ephesus he wrote, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen" (Ephesians 4:29).
To the church in Corinth he wrote, "I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you many be perfectly united in mind and thought" (1 Corinthians 1:10).
To the church in Philippi he wrote, "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing" (Philippians 2:14–16).
Put the mallet down. Stop looking for things to gripe about. Heed Paul's advice and only say that which is helpful for building up the other Christians you worship beside.