(Photo: In Touch Ministries)
1 Corinthians 16:13-14
We all want the church to be strong, but false doctrine, apathy, and a lack of discipline work together to diminish the local congregation's influence in the community and beyond. Paul reveals three ways to strengthen the church.
• Be alert to false doctrine. Nothing will water down a church's effectiveness more than wrong spiritual beliefs. The world largely approves of immorality and iniquity, and we are bombarded by philosophies that mix truth with a bit of falsehood. Unless firmly planted in God's Word, believers are susceptible to those lies. Standing firm requires that undiluted Scripture be preached from the pulpit and studied by the flock.
• Appreciate God's servants. Too often church members criticize their leaders more than encourage them. Pastors and others in authority can certainly make mistakes or fall into sin-they're human. But they have devoted themselves to helping people hear and understand the Word. The congregation is responsible to show support and love. Those who know God most deeply will appreciate His chosen servant. Likewise, caring for the pastor opens a believer to experience the Lord more and thereby know Him better.
• Accept one another. As a fellowship of believers, we're to develop a spirit of acceptance and oneness. This principle has nothing to do with performance; rather, it's based on the fact that God has given each of His children a unique role.
Every local body has great potential because of the believers and gifts God has put together. What step can you take now to start strengthening your church?