I’m not a pastor who is constantly looking for Satan behind everything that goes wrong. I concentrate my attention on Jesus and encouraging others to follow Jesus and not to focus on the defeated one.
Yet, I’m fully aware that Satan loves to destroy—or attempt to destroy—a church. Obviously, Satan is a limited being, and God’s church is secure. The gates of hell shall never overcome what God started, but Satan certainly loves to disrupt what God’s church is doing: “Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour” (1 Pet. 5:8).
Here are 7 way Satan tries to destroy a church:
1. Church conflict. Satan loves business meetings that get out of hand or when two church members have disagreements outside of church. He loves when church members argue about trivial things, such as colors of the carpet, or big things, such as whether to add another service. Doesn’t matter to him. Show him a good argument potential, and he’s willing to stir the fire.
2. Burnout. Satan loves to burn out a church volunteer, staff member or pastor. If he can make them feel they are no longer needed, their work is not appreciated or that they no longer have anything to offer. He feels he’s winning part of the battle.
3. Rumors. Satan is the stirrer of dissension. He likes to plant little seeds of a juicy story about someone in the church or community—sometimes even the pastor or staff—and watch them quickly spread through a church congregation or community. The version, of course, usually grows to a larger portion than reality. Satan likes that too.
4. Busyness. Satan loves to distract churchgoers with a plethora of activity that produces little results in kingdom-building.
5. Lies. Satan attempts to interject what he calls a “half-truth”—just a hint of false doctrine—and then watch it disrupt or divide a body. Of course, we all know that a half-truth is really just a cleaned-up version of a bold-faced lie, but Satan is clever enough to disguise a lie in a way where false teachers gain entry and do damage before being discovered.
6. Scandal. Satan loves a good, juicy, gossipy news headline in the local paper. If it will split, divide or destroy a church body, even better. If it will destroy someone’s kingdom calling or work, he’ll take that too.
7. Marriage and family disruptions. Satan loves to destroy any relationship, but he also goes after key leaders’ marriages—even the pastor’s marriage. He likes to encourage prodigal children. He wants to cause families to fight within the church and to fight with the church. Satan knows if he can destroy a home, he has a better chance of destroying a church.
Thankfully, there is good news: “You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
What other ways have you seen Satan try to destroy a church?
Ron Edmondson is a pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, Ky. He is also a church leadership consultant who is passionate about planting churches, helping established churches thrive and assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. Prior to ministry, Ron had more than 20 years of business experience, mostly as a self-employed business owner. Follow Ron on Facebook, Twitter, and his blog at ronedmondson.com.
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