Why do we have so much trouble in our local churches? Why are dissension, disunity, and incessant complaining so common in our churches? These things sap the strength of the church and keep us from experiencing true blessing and growth. But what causes them?
Let me offer three possible reasons for the trouble in our local fellowships. This list is not exhaustive by any means. There are many reasons churches struggle. Let us focus on these three for the sake of brevity.
1) We are still sinners. Though we are Christians and though we are in Christ we still struggle with our own sinfulness and our own selfishness. Therefore, when we don’t get our way we complain and stir up conflict. Christians sometimes fall into old patterns of sin which causes strife and pain. We will not be complete until we are in the presence of Christ. We’re still sinners and we need to remember that fact.
2) We don’t communicate. We don’t like having the difficult conversations that sometimes arise amongst family. Instead of asking for clarification and seeking to understand, we jump to conclusions and assume the worst of our fellow Christians. Then, we talk about these situations to anyone and everyone who will listen. Pretty soon, sides form and you have a full-scale conflict. Failure to communicate has doomed many churches to irrelevancy and decline.
3) Not everyone in the church is a Christian. Even those who claim to be Believers may actually be lost and unconverted. Jesus said there will be tares among the wheat. He promised that false believers would exist with genuine Christians until the time of judgement. (Matthew 13:24-30) False Christians can stir up dissension easily and effortlessly.
These aspects of church trouble I have mentioned are possible in every realm of the church. Even Pastors, Staff Members, Deacons, and church leaders are not immune. We all must be on guard against those entities which would divide us.