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Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Greatest Hinderance to Church Growth : Gray Elephants

Ask practically anyone in ministry and they will tell you what they see as the greatest threat to the church. Of course, they'll usually offer the greatest solution... their  style of worship.
Theories on what most threatens the church can range from Isis to a dogmatic orthodoxy. 
Let's not forget Jesus said, the "gates of hell will not prevail against " His church. While I find hope in those empowering words, I'll not pretend the church is without her adversaries.
It's not Islam, or Isis that scare me. Neither the darkest, vilest, shameful acts pose a threat to those Paul calls " more than conquerors". No particular style of worship, or denomination offers a solution to what I call, the Gray Elephants.

Gray Elephants, the things the Bible neither labeled as black or white. The amounts it never quantifies. The permissions it never grants or denies. The things that inspire the questions, " how much of something can I do or have? Is this a sin? Maybe there's no right answer, but for sure those are the wrong questions. How can we draw near to Christ, while focusing on how much of the world we can still cling to? 

Don't feed the Gray Elephants.
1 Corinthians 10 
12Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 

Unchecked strengths are our weaknesses waiting to exploit us. By thinking we can handle things in moderation, gives us the illusion of being immunized from the effects of sin,  rather than just being saved from it. Once we let pride remove our borders, we use our strength to move away from God. In the wake, families break up, pastors fall, churches close.

Do we want 
to live simply delivered or live completely devoted?
Are we only liberated, or wholly dedicated?
Let's Look at 1 Corinthians 10
31Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God
: 33 Even as I please allmen in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
It's that dedication, our love for God and fellow man, causing our light to shine through the denying ourselves. Likewise, it's the lack of such causing us to stumble or causing others to. There is no greater threat to our walk or our ministry.
Elephants, just like our compromises and liberties, begin small, yet have a tendency to grow into massive uncontrollable beasts.

Eat the Word.
Feed the sheep.   
Starve the Gray Elephants.

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