From the earliest days of the Jr. High lunchroom (as brutal as that can be), as young adolescents try to figure out the social pecking order, it’s funny how little things seem to change even as we move well into adulthood and the workplace.
It even shows up when you get a bunch of pastors in the same room.
The first question that comes up? It may come out a bit more sophisticated than this, but what they’re all thinking is, “How big is your church compared to my church?”
It’s a question rooted in simple, immature, Jr. High insecurity. And it is derailing the church from its mission.
Competing with other churches only makes sense if you’re going after people who already know Jesus. And there is no shortage of people who don’t know Jesus.
So how do you know if your church is competing with other churches?
1. Are you genuinely excited to see other churches in your community take ground?
If you don’t feel like you’re winning when other churches in your community are winning, and in fact become jealous when other churches win, you’re probably competing with other churches.
2. Do you publicly (and privately) speak well of other churches in your community?
If you speak poorly of other pastors and other churches, then you’re probably competing with other churches.
3. Do you learn from other successful churches?
If you don’t think you have much to learn from other successful churches and they “don’t understand your church,” you’re probably competing with other churches.
4. Are you doing events for Christians?
If your first foot forward is to lead with events to attract Christians, then you’re probably competing with other churches. By the way, that’s not growing the church; it’s what we call “Swapping Saints.”
5. Does the language you use create clarity or confusion for outsiders?
If people outside of the faith need a “Beginners Guide to Understanding Church Language” to know what’s going on at your church, then you’re probably competing with other churches. Click on the following link to discover if your church is Insider focused or Outsider focused.
Friends, other churches aren’t the Enemy. The Enemy is the Enemy.
We’d do well to remember the words of the Apostle Paul …
“It’s true that some here preach Christ because, with me out of the way, they think they’ll step right into the spotlight. But the others do it with the best heart in the world. One group is motivated by pure love, knowing that I am here defending the Message, wanting to help. The others, now that I’m out of the picture, are merely greedy, hoping to get something out of it for themselves. Their motives are bad. They see me as their competition, and so the worse it goes for me, the better—they think—for them. So how am I to respond? I’ve decided that I really don’t care about their motives, whether mixed, bad or indifferent. Every time one of them opens his mouth, Christ is proclaimed, so I just cheer them on!” Philippians 1:15-21 (The Message)