Change can be difficult! There is a natural resistance to change, but sometimes we (the church) struggle a little too much with change, making it harder than it needs to be. After all, things have changed a lot in the last 2,000 years and they will continue to do so until the return of Christ. Some of the most effective words that hinder a church from moving forward are “we’ve never done it that way before.”
Sometimes when people leave the church it can be a good thing. Said another way, there are some people who advance the cause of peace and unity by their absence!
If you are inclined to be angry at someone in leadership of your church because your child does not have fun in church, then first consider if the source of the problem is in the heart of your child. Please don’t make the criteria for judging the success of a church’s efforts at reaching children and teens the fun-value of the meetings. God did not command the church to provide entertainment for your kids. And if you must speak out about it at all, attempt to increase, rather than to decrease the intensity and effectiveness of prayer and Bible study as a means to reach the hearts of the children. If you chose to do otherwise, you could be working against the Spirit.
The biggest pain that a Christian worker has is not from attacks from outside the church. Attacks from within the church are always more painful than serious persecution. After all we have sacrificed for others for such meager material rewards, we are misunderstood, slandered, and ignored in our time of need. That we will experience this is as sure as the sunrise in the morning. We’d better be prepared to face it!
There is no surer mark of backsliding and falling off in grace than an increasing disposition to find fault, pick holes, and see weak points in others.
The church is not perfect, but woe to the man who finds pleasure in pointing out her imperfections! Christ loved his church, and let us do the same. I have no doubt that the Lord can see more fault in his church than I can; and I have equal confidence that he sees no fault at all. Because he covers her faults with his own love-that love which covers a multitude of sins; and he removes all her defilement with that precious blood which washes away all the transgressions of his people.
Some are childishly anxious to know their friend’s opinion of them, and if it contain the smallest element of dissent or censure, they regard him as an enemy forthwith. Surely we are not popes, and do not wish our hearers to regard us as infallible! We have known men become quite enraged at a perfectly fair and reasonable remark, and regard an honest friend as an opponent who delighted to find fault; this misrepresentation on the one side has soon produced heat on the other, and strife ensued. How much better is gentle forbearance! You must be able to bear criticism, or you are not fit to be at the head of a congregation; and you must let the critic go without reckoning him among your deadly foes, or you will prove yourself a mere weakling.
Public men must expect public criticism, and as the public cannot be regarded as infallible, public men may expect to be criticized in a way which is neither fair nor pleasant. To all honest and just remarks we are bound to give due measure of heed, but to the bitter verdict of prejudice, the frivolous faultfinding of men of fashion, the stupid utterances of the ignorant, and the fierce denunciations of opponents, we may very safely turn a deaf ear.
If we dwell on high with “that great Shepherd of the sheep” we shall care little for all the confused bleatings around us, but if we become “carnal, and walk as men,” we shall have little rest if we listen to this, that, and the other which every poor sheep may bleat about us.
Most often, people who say that others have no love are themselves the ones most lacking. They think the new commandment says, “Love me or I’ll destroy you and your church.” They sit around waiting for other people to love them. How easy it is to see the speck of lovelessness in another’s eye but miss the log of self-centeredness, hypocrisy, and anger in your own eye (Matt. 7:3-5).