A Great Solution for Church Envy

29 Mar

If you are a pastor or a commited church member you may suffer from time to time from Church Envy. This particular malady is subtle but insidious, carrying the potential to drain you of joy. Church Envy can happen when you hear about great things that are happening at another church, when it seems that nothing spectacular is happening at your church. Church Envy is usually accompanied by Sincere Rejoicing at the work of God, but even as you are thankful for good things God is doing, there is a subtle longing that makes you wish they were happening at your church like they seem to be happening elsewhere. It’s kind of like Facebook Envy, but worse, because it relates to spiritual life and not just how much more beautiful your friend’s family pictures look than yours.

I must admit that I have struggled with Church Envy at times. Sometimes it is because I see my own failures in ministry and blame myself for dry seasons in church life. Sometimes it is because I  want success so that I will feel good about myself or so that others will give me approval rather than desiring spiritual fruit for the glory of God.

But I have learned that there is a way out of Church Envy: sincere, real prayer for the churches of your community. This has been a great help to me, keeping me on the narrow path of rejoicing and away from the grass is greener field called envy. Sometimes I pray for other churches from the pulpit, because I believe our members need to be reminded that we are on the same team with other churches and not competitors. So when you are tempted to Church Envy, pray. Pray for the little church down the street with 30 members, pray for the megachurch, pray for the Methodists or Lutherans or Baptists or whatever churches surround you. Pray for their leaders: that they will love God, lead the people with joy, that they will love and minister to their families first, and that they will realize that they are called to be faithful, but they don’t have to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. Pray for the members of local churches: that they will be supportive of their leaders, that they will lead faithful, honorable lives, that they will be eager to hear and walk in God’s Word and that gossip and infighting would be far from them, replaced by a hunger for God, a devotion to prayer and a desire to reach the lost.

God wants to deliver you from Church Envy and lead you to great rejoicing at His work, wherever it happens. Prayer is the way He is working that spirit into my life.

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