My Church is better than Your Church!

My Church is better than Your Church!

“The Body of Christ is divided.” Pastor Ryan Stafford, Victory Christian Church, Tulsa, OK

“I believe that most people are just playing religion. They don’t have a relationship with Jesus. They believe their connection with a building, walking through those doors, is going to cleanse them. And then they’re out religiously trying to live by rules we know from the Old Testament that man can’t live by.”

Pastor Kevin Berg, Desert View Baptist, Winslow, AZ

“Jesus said we are to esteem each other as more important than ourselves. If we can represent Him in that way then we are wanting our brother or sister to have better than we have. Then we’re really trying to say, “You are not a threat to me; you are a compliment to me. I’m not comparing myself to you. I’m not competing with you. I am meant to blend with you and celebrate you and be excited about the gift in your life.”

Unfortunately, insecurities, comparativeness and competitiveness have made people build little personal empires instead of building the kingdom of God.

It’s been more about a ‘me’ than a ‘we’. What God’s looking for is a ‘we’. ”

Pastor Francis Anfuso, The Rock of Roseville, Roseville, CA

Sadly, the spirit of competition, personal bias, and negative judgments toward churches and denominations other than our own have conspired to make us all look like arrogant supremacists who create more confusion than clarity to the message God is trying to send to the world.

“Denominations just build walls between us. We have a tendency to declare that ‘this is what the Bible teaches’ and be really arrogant about it. We need to respect that another equally intelligent person might see it differently…we have to get over our pride and realize we are all on the same team…God loves us all in the same way and if we could work together the world could be saved.”

Pastor Jeremy Brown, Journey Church, Jackson, TN

“If we’re going to reach this world for Jesus… if we’re going to help people move from where they are…the biggest thing is the Church needs to stop throwing rocks at each other…if the Church can’t get along with itself and unite around Jesus and loving people…why should I put my faith in them?”

Pastor Chuck Van Hook____ , Journey Church, Jackson, TN

“The vast majority of Americans are not interested in a Sunday morning church…the fastest growing churches are growing with transfer growth. We have churches competing with each other for an ever-decreasing piece of the pie. We’re…we’re either going to reinvent the way we do things or we’re going to see an increasing decline in the church.”…”

Jeff Kirsch, We Are Church, Denver, NC

“I think we have to recognize there is no perfect structure. And structures in and of themselves don’t bring transformation. What we’re trying to do is facilitate and make it as easy as possible for God to come on earth as it is in Heaven…For His Kingdom to come. The Church is called to be the incarnate expression of Jesus on the earth. It’s why I love the Church. I love the Body of Christ in all its varied forms and expressions. I’m convinced that if we pay attention to what God is doing and what God is saying to us that every church in every city has a role, a place, and a future.

Paul said it is so unwise to compare ourselves with ourselves. We are not to do that. That’s where so many churches get into trouble. We go to conference after conference trying to figure out what are we doing that’s wrong or what we are doing that’s right or how we do this better.

I am all for excellence. I am all for effective ministry. But I’m so much more confident in the Holy Spirit’s ability to teach us, guide us, empower us, and equip us.”

Pastor Roger Nix, Believers Church, Tulsa, OK

“(Churches of other denominations need to) come together for the sake of the mission…it isn’t just for the lost to be found, but to make God known…that’s when we come together to fight human trafficking or stop hunger… ”

Pastor Les Croft, Greensboro Christian Church, Greensboro, NC

“We shoot ourselves in the foot…the spirit of competition is not of God.”

Reverend Reggie Fowler, 1st Christian Church, Amarillo, TX

I could list more, but you get the idea.

Virtually every pastor we met expressed some amount of frustration about the way churches compete with one another, or the way one denomination will promote the message, their view on scripture is the only, truly accurate one.

We form our opinions about what is true and then make the wild assumption that any differing opinion must be wrong. And by wrong, they usually mean that you won’t go to heaven until you get it right.

Well, their version of right anyway.

One lifelong Christian and seasoned sr. pastor I interviewed admitted, with a good deal of chagrin, that until recently he hadn’t realized the Methodists were saved.

“We are too denominationally driven…my church is more right than your church…”

Dr. Lee Simpson, Faith Clinic, Amarillo, TX

“I’m Longing for a church that isn’t about denomination…just a building that says “We love God”.”

Reverend Reggie Fowler, 1st Christian Church, Amarillo, TX

Here’s the thing: According to the 2010 Religious Congregations Census, there are about 314,000 Protestant and other Christian churches in America.

Most of them probably feel they (or their denomination) have the “most accurate” understanding of the Bible and what it has to say about God, faith, and practice.

Yet, there will be a multitude of disparities from one to another. If we all got together to argue about theology and doctrine we’d surely walk away feeling exhausted and frustrated at the end of the day (if not beaten and bloody).

Simply put, no one could win the arguments because we’re not all wrong and we’re not all right.

We ought to be humble enough to admit it, but far too many of us aren’t.

If thousands of scholars and theologians can’t agree; why are we so hell-bent on this relentless, community-destroying game of “Religious King of the Hill” with one another?

We reviewed hundreds of church websites looking for those we might visit as we traveled across the U.S.

There were more than a few who weren’t shy about claiming superiority over other churches, even at times, within their own denomination.

We would usually find it in their “What We Believe” page or in the “Letter from the Pastor” page.

I read numerous comments that boasted about how special or different their church was from all the rest.

One pastor even posted this,

“Other churches pick and choose which doctrines they want to follow. But (his church) is not ashamed to follow traditional doctrine.”

The upshot was, ‘if you want to go to the right church, with real Bible teaching, with the real people going to Heaven, this is the only one!’

It isn’t only denominations.

With the surge of the new myriad Post Modern expressions of the Church, we have no shortage of arguments about what is the “right way” to do church. We’ll talk about this in more detail later on.

“The Body of Christ is divided.” Pastor Ryan Stafford, Victory Christian Church, Tulsa, OK

Given the reality we’re confusing the non-Christians and undermining the work of the Gospel by criticizing one another, do you think that a cease-fire is in order?

What message do you think the present disunity among God’s people is conveying to the non-Christian world?

In Sacramento, CA, where I live, there is a movement started to create unity among pastors of all denominations.

They meet with regularity to build one another up.

They pool resources and meet the needs of all churches to the best of their ability.

This movement has created a groundswell of love and brotherhood that has erased the lines between denominations, individual church communities, race, and gender.

“As a result (of reaching out to other pastors) bridges have been built, breeches have been healed, relationships have been formed that have been absolutely transformational. So now, some of my closest friends are leaders around the region that I know would take a bullet for me just as I would take a bullet for them.”

Pastor Francis Anfuso, The Rock of Roseville, Roseville, CA

“I see denominations partnering more than ever before.” Pastor Steve Tiebout, The River, Cookeville, TN

Let’s be honest. We all want to feel like the church we attend is the right church. There is nothing wrong with that…to a point.

One Body but Many Parts (1Corinthians 12:12-27)

There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ. We were all baptized by one Holy Spirit. And so we are formed into one body. It didn’t matter whether we were Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free people. We were all given the same Spirit to drink. So the body is not made up of just one part. It has many parts.

Suppose the foot says, “I am not a hand. So I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. And suppose the ear says, “I am not an eye. So I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, how could it hear? If the whole body were an ear, how could it smell? God has placed each part in the body just as he wanted it to be. If all the parts were the same, how could there be a body? As it is, there are many parts. But there is only one body.

The eye can’t say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” In fact, it is just the opposite. The parts of the body that seem to be weaker are the ones we can’t do without. The parts that we think are less important we treat with special honor. The private parts aren’t shown. But they are treated with special care. The parts that can be shown don’t need special care. But God has put together all the parts of the body. And he has given more honor to the parts that didn’t have any. In that way, the parts of the body will not take sides. All of them will take care of one another. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honored, every part shares in its joy.

You are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of it.”

Before you let that message go in one ear and out the other (ooh that’s punny!) It isn’t you who decides what body part you best represent. God alone knit us together. God alone knows how this all shakes out.

Be humble. Lift up all who proclaim the Name of Jesus Christ.

In His love and service,

Sharon Bollum

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