Never go to your church or meetings held there,
If you do go, be late, it's no one's affair.
If the weather is bad, either too hot or snowing,
Just stay home and rest, for there'll be others going.
But should you attend, be sure and remember
To find fault with the work, each official and member.
Be sure to hold back on your offerings and tithes,
The bills will be paid by the rest of the guys.
And never take office if offered the post,
But eagerly criticize work of the host.
If not on a committee you're placed, be sore!
If you find that you are, don't attend any more.
When asked your opinion on this thing or that,
Have nothing to say, just turn 'em down flat.
Then after the meeting, shine out like the sun
By telling the folks how it should have been done.
Don't do any more than you possibly can,
Leave the work for some other woman or man.
And when you see faithful ones work themselves sick,
Then stand up and holler, "It's run by a clique!"
It is likely that we all know people who have either behaved like this or else made such claims. Hopefully, few of us have been the ones behaving this way or else making these claims. And yet, if you think about it, it is really not all that hard to kill a local church, or at least to diminish its ministry effectiveness.
All that really needs to happen is to have enough people do four or five basic things. Among them:
1) Become Indifferent About Embracing Her Purpose; 2) Become Indignant Over Loving Her Members; 3) Become Infrequent In Attending Her Services; and 4) Become Insensitive To Supporting Her Needs.
Trust me… if enough people do these things, and do them long enough, then the local church is in trouble. I say the local church because the church universal, what the Bible calls the Bride of Christ, will not be prevailed against, even by the gates of Hell itself.
For, as Jesus Himself once told the Apostle Peter (in the New Testament Gospel of Matthew, chapter 16, verse 18): “…I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”
You see, my friend, countless local congregations may have come and gone over the last two thousand years; but the church herself has never faltered. She never will! That being said, I still do not want to see any congregation of which I am a part to cease to be effective in her time.
In the Old Testament book of First Samuel, chapter four, we see the glory of the Lord departing from the famed Tabernacle in Shiloh due to the sinfulness of the children of Israel and of the priests in particular.
Later in the Old Testament book of Ezekiel, chapter ten, we see the glory of the Lord also departing the famous Temple built by King Solomon. To be sure, both of these places, the earlier Tabernacle (or portable Tent of Meeting) and the later (permanent) Temple in Jerusalem, were built for the express purpose of glorifying God.
Yet, after a time, His glory eventually departed both. The question is why? And the answer is that the people of God in each of these generations had grown slack in their support of His house.
It is for this reason that I recognize that given local congregations can rise and fall even as the church universal marches on. It is also for this reason that I recognize that I do not want to do anything that will prompt the Lord to withdraw His glory from any local church of which I am a part.
In effect, I have no desire to aid in killing the church! I trust the same is true for you. And I trust that you will join with me in working to keep her, the local church of which you are affiliated, alive and well!
For while you and I may not can control what happened in Old Testament times, or New Testament times, or over the course of the last two thousand years of Christian history, we can certainly have some impact on what happens today. As can all Christians.
In light of this, may we all be found faithful in this, our generation! The life of the local church depends upon it!