We are in a competition. At least that’s what most of us think if we are really honest with ourselves. It’s not a good or God-honoring competition either. What I mean is that Christ followers look at churches that they don’t attend as direct competition. Even ministers look at other ministers and other churches, mostly local but sometimes anywhere, as direct competition.
We compare ourselves to what the church down the street, across the state, or even around the world is doing to win souls. If we seem to be more successful, at least in the eyes of the world, we look down on these other ministers and churches, asking, “Why don’t they do more?” Or, if we don’t measure up to what another church is doing, we get down on ourselves. Maybe we even turn a little green with envy. In other words, jealousy rears its ugly head.
Christ followers look at churches that they don’t attend as direct competition.
When this occurs, we end up hurting the efforts of the Church in presenting Jesus to the world. Others are aware of the jealousy and competition that we like to pretend doesn’t exist. And it hurts our ability to successfully share Jesus. Even if it doesn’t show publicly, this competition among ourselves hurts more than it helps. When we compare ourselves to another church or minister, we are forgetting two very important truths.
God has placed us in the context that we are in to do His work (that context is unique, and what we accomplish is unique to that context.
We are all in this together. This should not be a competition. Instead, we should be willing to help each other out. We shouldn’t look down on that church down the street that does things different than we do. They are hopefully reaching a group of people that we wouldn’t even know where to begin with. As for churches that we consider being better than us, instead of becoming jealous of their success, why not celebrate the souls that they are bringing into the kingdom!
It’s easier said than done. I get that. When you’re serving in a church and other churches seem to be having baptisms every week, and it’s been a while for you, that jealousy creeps in without us even realizing it sometimes. It can be frustrating, and that leads to us wanting to compare ourselves to another church that is in an entirely different context than we are.
I write this on a Tuesday morning, coming off of a normal Sunday a couple days ago at Central Christian Church. We had a few people out of town or sick, so our numbers were down a little, but not the lowest I’ve seen. It would be easy for a little depression and jealousy to creep in though. And it almost did. But I caught it early, and turned that jealousy into a celebration. That’s why I write this to you today.
I’m asking you to celebrate with me.
What am I celebrating? A ministry friend of mine in Kentucky, who went to Cincinnati Christian University with me, had a baptism last Sunday that he posted about this past Sunday. On top of that, another ministry friend, who is a college age minister at University Church of Christ in Las Cruces, NM was at a retreat this past weekend. They had at least 10 people that gave their lives to Christ and were baptized during the retreat. Another minister that I know, whom I also went to Cincinnati Christian University with, is the campus minister at Trader’s Point Christian Church’s new downtown campus in Indianapolis. They launched the new campus this past Sunday. Not only did they have over 1,600 people attend the opening of this campus, 42 people gave their lives to Christ through the obedience of baptism. Now each one of those 50+ lives is worth celebrating whether you know them or not.
And here is the great thing. I just wrote about 50+ people coming to faith in Jesus Christ over the last couple of Sundays. Those are just the ones that I know about through social media. I promise there are more that we can celebrate. You see, we are all a part of the body of Christ. There should be no competition among us. No jealousy. Only support and celebrating wins for the kingdom! Because, again, we’re all in this together!