You may want your church to grow but it seems like you’re constantly facing attacks against church growth. Be aware of this:
We have a real enemy determined to keep God’s work from advancing. God’s Word portrays the devil as scheming (Eph. 6:11), slanderous (Rev. 12:10), tormenting (2 Cor. 12:7), and deceitful (Jn. 8:44), like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour (1 Pet. 5:8) but sometimes disguised as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14).
Persistent roadblocks and attacks can discourage and instill fear that ultimately immobilizes and defeats church growth efforts if we don’t stand our ground and resist the enemy.
Identifying the Real Cause for Churches Not Growing
We must first make sure the obstacles to church growth truly are the result of spiritual warfare before proceeding.
- Sometimes we’re not cultivating an atmosphere conducive to growth that aligns with God’s purposes and design.
- Sometimes our mission and God’s mission are not the same.
- Sometimes there’s “sin in the camp” that keeps us from growing.
- Sometimes we’re using methodology that’s more worldly than godly to attract people rather than turning the spotlight on the Lord.
- Sometimes we put the focus on that which draws attention to ourselves rather than to the Lord.
We can’t expect God to bless that which would not bear His stamp of approval. We can’t expect Him to bring to fruition that which is not born of Him. If we don’t identify the real cause, we may not apply the correct solution.
To be sure, the enemy does like to piggyback on our weaknesses. If we don’t deal with human causes, we open the door for Satan to come in and wreak havoc.
Stand Firm When Encountering Attacks Against Church Growth
Whether we’ve opened the door for the enemy or we’ve come under attack without invitation, we need to stand against the devil’s schemes (Eph. 4:11). We need to stand firm (Eph. 6:14) and resist the devil (James 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:9). How are we going to do that?
1) We must first submit ourselves to God. Then we’ll be able to resist the enemy.
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
2) We must put on the full armor of God. Then we’ll be able to stand.
Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. … Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then … (Eph. 6:11-14)
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Cor. 10:4-5)
The next post will look at the various pieces of God’s armor in light of church growth. Here, however, we need to make some assertions about that armor.
- Being able to pick up and put on that armor begins with being “strong IN THE LORD and in HIS mighty power” (Eph. 6:10). We can’t proceed in our own strength.
- We must “put on the FULL armor of God” (Eph. 6:11, 13). We can’t pick and choose pieces we like or feel more comfortable with and expect to be fully protected. The devil will find our areas of vulnerability and launch a different kind of attack to halt growth.
Are you submitting yourself to God so you can resist the devil? Are you putting on the FULL armor of God so you can stand firm?