Let me state some realities for you. The following list is not a specific indictment of this congregation, but I do believe these statements could be made about any local congregation, anywhere in the world:
- “The church isn’t as evangelistic as it could be. We’re not doing enough to reach out to lost sinners.”
- “We don’t do enough to support the weak and to encourage those who are struggling with hardships in their lives.”
- The church isn’t as friendly as it could be. We don’t do as well in welcoming visitors and newcomers as we could, and there’s not as much close association among the members as there should be.
- The Bible classes could be improved. The subject matter is sometimes ambiguous, and the teachers are sometimes unprepared.
- We’re not doing enough benevolence. We’re too slow to step forward when legitimate needs come to us.
This is just a sampling. You can, no doubt, think of other things to expand this list. My point, however, is this: What are you doing about these deficiencies? There are two types of members in congregations, and they always have opposite reactions to the kind of problems I’ve listed here.
There are some who are dedicated to serving in the kingdom. When they see areas that need attention, they jump into the work. Are there lost people that need to be taught, weak brethren to encourage, sick people to visit? These members don’t wait to be told — they’re busy working to address the needs. For example, instead of complaining that the church is unfriendly, they’re doing their best to change that reputation by inviting people into their homes and by actively showing their love and concern for others. They volunteer to teach classes. They offer constructive criticism in loving ways. They get involved in bringing about needed changes. In short, they love the church and want to see it grow.
Sadly, there are others who only want to complain. They’re never happy and are constantly finding fault. Those members see none of the good in the congregation. They gripe and whine and do nothing positive. Their contribution and legacy in the church is tearing down, not building up. Which of these descriptions fits you best? Be a problem solver and lovingly fix the areas of the congregation that need it.