7 Deadly sins of a declining church: Pride

By Replant

In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.  
Psalm 10:4 (NIV)

In the work of turning around a declined church—everyone has to give a little, everyone has to die a little. This is the point where most turnarounds struggle to get off the ground and even fail.

Flash points over the style of music, the form of governance and who initiates, leads and approves changes reveal more than a difference of opinion. When a congregation becomes stuck pride is often the culprit. Pride sometimes masks itself as concern for those in the body who will have a difficult time accepting change. Pride may masquerade as respect for traditions; it may surface as a blatant threat or a bold assumption. Pride divides—always.Lines get drawn, constituents are identified, and coalitions become constituted for the promotion of their priority either in pressing forward or preserving their vision of what the church must be or remain.

Is pride a problem in your church?

  • Has communication among members/leaders become sharp, demeaning or critical?
  • Are faults easily found and communicated to others?
  • Is there open criticism of leaders or members?
  • Has binary thinking become the norm? (Someone is right and someone is wrong)
  • Have controlling behaviors surfaced? (Withholding information, lack of openness and honesty, is the treasurer leveraging the checkbook, are members withholding their tithes?)
  • Has a general spirit of complaining and negativity become prevalent?
  • Are people upset, defensive and angry if they no are no longer consulted on every decision?
  • Are secret meetings being held and anonymous letters mailed?

Pride tells those in its grip that they are right and the others are wrong. Once convinced of the lies pride tells—those who believe its message feel compelled to act.

God hates pride—plain and simple.Pride is defeated by the power of Christ which enables us to say no to the sins pride leads us toward. The power of Christ sets us free from accusations and fault finding so that we may ask better questions than who is right or wrong.

A church seeks God’s will, regularly asking together in prayer; “What does God want for our church?” will be blessed by unity, delivered from pride and have the hope of seeing God breathe life back into the body.

Replanter—lead your church to regularly pray; “What does God want for our Church?” Listen together, and then move forward as a unified body for the sake of the Gospel.

Published May 21, 2015

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The Replant team of the North American Mission Board works to reverse the death and decline rate of Churches. For more information and resources on Replanting go to www.namb.net/replant and follow @churchreplanter.