Last week, I shared with you the first two of three principles all churches should examine and apply. Here they are again, in summary:
- Clear, biblical thinking must override secular planning and a corporate mentality. Think spiritually!
- Studied, accurate decisions must originate from God’s Word, not human opinions. Stay biblical!
As promised, here’s the third principle and imperative.
What it Takes to Counteract Erosion
The third principle and imperative is this: Wise, essential changes must occur to counteract any sign of erosion. Please notice I did not use the word “easy.” Change is not easy when erosion has occurred—but it is essential. The imperative? Be flexible!
Be ready and willing to make some changes—essential changes—especially if you hope to arrest the slow, silent, subtle slide of erosion. And stand alone through those changes, if necessary. The poet and artist E. E. Cummings wrote:
To be nobody-but-yourself—in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody but yourself—means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting.[ref]E. E. Cummings, as quoted by Ted Goodman in The Forbes Book of Business Quotations: 10,000 Thoughts on the Business of Life (New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2007), 553.[/ref]
As a pastor, you may find yourself standing alone against erosion in your church. If so, I commend you. And believe me, that isn’t an easy place to be. When I realized the erosion that had already begun to occur in our church years ago . . . when I realized how far we had drifted from God’s original, simple plan, I prayed: “Almighty God, give us that original vision again. Give me the courage to lead this flock back to the essentials. Make it happen again!” And He has begun to do so. It’s been marvelous!
But it has not been easy.
What Course Correction Requires
Course correction requires changes. It demands a devotion to the essentials of a church as modeled by the early church. Here they are:
All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer (Acts 2:42).
It isn’t enough simply to have the essentials in our churches. We must continually devote ourselves to them. In the original language, that phrase translates a single Greek term that means: “to continue to do something with intense effort, with the possible implication of [doing so] despite difficulty.”
Will there be difficulty? Absolutely! Open your New Testament and revisit the early church. Just look at any church! The Adversary will stop at nothing to overcome the work of Christ.
You can count on it.