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5 Grave Dangers for Any Local Church

12Stone Church has a good name in the community, and I’m grateful for that. But one of the best compliments I’ve ever heard was from a waitress who said, “Oh, you guys are those Jesus freaks!” She somehow associated us with Jesus, and that’s a good thing.

It’s easy to say “God” (and there’s nothing wrong with that), but when you say “Jesus” you’ve made a distinct declaration, and people know where you stand.

3) When programs take precedence over prayer.

Programs over prayer leads to experience without transformation. The unique nuance with this potential danger is that the experience might be good, but that doesn’t mean that anything of eternal impact happened.

The longer I lead, the more deeply I’m convinced that prayer is everything. Our local churches may have great leadership and excellent programs that people love and appreciate, but true long-term success is based on prayer.

The more I fight my schedule for time to pray, the more it fights me. I fight anyway. Why? The enemy knows and will do anything to prevent prayer! In fact, the enemy loves prayerless programs because they pose no threat. But even the smallest and most humble of churches can rock the Kingdom if it’s a praying church!

4) When competition becomes greater than cooperation.

Competition is neither subtle or unnoticed, but it’s a grave danger that is hard to conquer. It’s difficult to conquer because some competition is healthy. It comes from a good and godly leadership drive that wants to make progress and excel.

It’s when competition is driven by jealousy, pride, envy or insecurity that we get in big trouble. When you are upset because someone has more than you, of anything, competition has you by the throat.

Scripture clearly calls us to unity, whether it’s within our own church or with other churches. When we lock arms in a spirit of cooperation, with a fellow staff member or, for example, at a roundtable with another church, we are difficult to defeat.

5) When comfort is allowed to replace sacrifice.

I recently wrote a post about sacrifice, so I’ll be brief on this last point, but it’s no less important.

Have you ever noticed that church planters and new churches never seek comfort? They eat, sleep and drink the mission. They make huge sacrifices to launch the baby church. They do whatever it takes.

And yet the same leaders and same church, years later, often seem to have let off the gas. There are many reasons for that, but let’s be honest, none of them are good. Nothing of any real value continues to move forward without sacrifice.

From your marriage at home to your mission at church, sliding into the comfort zone is like quicksand. You don’t notice what you’re stepping in until you are already in danger. Grave danger.

This article about dangers to local churches originally appeared here.