Your reaction to this title might be, "Duh, of course we should not compete with other churches."
But, in reality, many church leaders do play the dangerous game of comparison. They see how their church stacks up to other churches. It's a form of competition. And though the title might state the obvious, allow me to remind you with seven clear reasons why it's wrong to compete:
1. We are on the same team. Competition and comparison imply that churches are on different teams. Not true. Though our doctrinal alignments may not be perfect, all true churches of the Lord Jesus Christ are on the same team. We fight the same enemy. We have the same mission.
2. A mindset of competition distracts from a mindset of the Great Commission. When you focus on something, you are doing so to the exclusion of everything else. If you are focusing on measuring your church compared to others, you are doing so to the exclusion of focusing on the Great Commission.
3. Every local church is different. We have different sets of members. We are located in different contexts. We have different strengths and challenges. We can't compare our church with other churches because God gave us each local church as a unique expression of His ministry.
4. Comparison and competing with other churches are forms of lust. You desire something that is not yours. You are not content with that which God has given your church. You want something God does not want your church to have.
5. Comparison and competing with other churches are demonstrations of a lack of gratitude to God. Instead of praising Him and thanking Him for what He has given you in your local church, you instead issue a form of complaint to God that He has not given you what the other church has. It is a total and sinful lack of gratitude.
6. You are not true to your call when you compete and compare your church to other churches. God has called you to the church where you currently serve. He has not called you to another church—that is a point of comparison. You have the "grass is greener" syndrome when you make such comparisons.
7. God does great things when His leaders work together. We can do so much more together. And though we may differ on tertiary doctrinal issues, we agree on much more. When God's leaders work together, iron sharpens iron and the mission of God becomes richer and more effective.
I am excited to see many church leaders and churches working together for God's glory. Our community of 2,000 church leaders at Church Answers Central is a key example of that synergy and effectiveness.
We would love to have you join this message board built for ministry. Try it out free and see what God can do when many of us work together.
Thom S. Rainer is the founder and CEO of Church Answers, an online community and resource for church leaders. Prior to founding Church Answers, Rainer served as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Before coming to LifeWay, he served at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for twelve years where he was the founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism. He is a 1977 graduate of the University of Alabama and earned his master of divinity and Ph.D. degrees from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
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