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Five Challenges Facing the Church Universal
“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,[a] in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought” (1 Corinthians 1:10 NIV).
Every church is the Holy House of God. However, the real church is the people and not the building. Therefore, each church has challenges that it must overcome to be successful. The church universal is a blessing from God. The Holy covenant of marriage is applied to Christ and the body of believers is known as the church. The church is comprised of those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and have received eternal life. Christ, the Bridegroom, has sacrificially and lovingly chosen the church to be His bride (Ephesians 5:25–27). This union is the same union as expressed in Mark 10:8: “… and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh.”
Christ lives in all of us. This is what is mean by ‘living in The Spirit’ rather than ‘living in the flesh. Consequently, we approach church with a desire to give as a joyful response to all that we have received from His hand.
Below are five challenges of each church. All can be summarized to one root cause: Failure to live in The Spirit.
1. Discipleship: It is great to attend church on Sunday. We attend to worship, pray, sing, and fellowship. However, it is important that we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and savior and follow him. Romans 10:9 tells us, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” A disciple has the love of God in his heart and a desire to fish for men. He generously shares his prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness to build up the church.
2. Leadership: All leaders of all organizations, Christian or secular, need to develop plans to replace themselves, transfer knowledge to the new person and then support the new leader. Jesus modeled this by teaching His disciples and preparing them for leadership. He supported their works though the Holy Spirit. Also, St. Paul took Timothy and Titus under his wing and prepared them for leadership.
3. Gossip: We are called to build one another up and not tear each other down with gossip and slander. James 4:11 tells us, “Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.” Ephesians 4:29 instructs us, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
4. Forgiveness: If we are going to work together for the glory of God, we must be able to forgive each other. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matthew 6:15).
5. Fear: A church must not be afraid of trying new ministries after prayerful consideration. Joshua 1 is a great chapter for those seeking courage. Multiple times, God instructs Joshua to be bold and courageous. In Joshua 1:9 we read, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Don’t be afraid of new things. God instructs us in Isaiah 43:19, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
Prayer: Dear God, Help us to love one another as You have loved us. Through Your grace, together we can solve any problem that faces Your church. Amen.
Meet the Author
Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Meet the Author
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