5 Ways to Destroy Your Church

The content of this post is satirical. If this is directed at any one person, it is Matthew Johnson. Oh, how I need to remind myself that Christ died for his church and to ask myself if I am building up that which he died for tearing it down.

A church is an assembly of sinful albeit justified people who have spiritually covenanted together in order to know God and to make him known. While most members of solid local churches do not usually think of the best way to damage or even destroy their church, with only a little effort it is possible. Below are five ways which any member of a church can use in order to either destroy a church or at the very least render it ineffective for the cause to which it has been called. It needs to be known that in order to be effective in destroying a church, you must be a part of one. For a long time, governments, tyrants, philosophers, and other individuals outside of the body of Christ have sought to destroy and damage churches, but found that in the persecution and attacks, churches actually grew. Sometimes, where wolves in sheep’s clothing fail, the sheep in wolves’ clothing succeed. So without further ado I present five ways to damage/destroy your local church.

  1. Don’t Pray. When public prayer is being offered in the assembly allow your mind to wander, or better yet run through the list of people in your mind that irritate you and all the things about the church and ministry that you don’t like. If the minister or person praying goes longer than ten minutes then be certain to get restless and make noise so he can realize that this is making you uncomfortable. Don’t attend prayer meetings. These times where Christians gather together to intently pray for the needs of the church and the glory of God through the advance of the gospel can be detrimental to the destruction of a church. Do everything you can to avoid them. And the most important, never pray outside of church. Busy yourself with much so that you just do not have time to pray for the leadership, the saints, the gospel furtherance. If perhaps, you do find yourself praying, be certain that your prayers are either general or aimed at criticizing certain persons (members, pastors, deacons, teachers, etc.) Use a lot of impreccatory prayers for those with whom you really don’t like. This leads us into the second successful way to destroy your church.
  2. Be Critical. Great damage can be done if you just complain and criticize as much as you can about the church. Don’t frame things that you are wondering as questions, but only use accusations. Criticism is a great tool to pressure people into conforming to what you want them to do. Notice when the music has a little more beat than you are comfortable with. Take note when the musicians are a little off. Make a catalog of how often your pastors or teachers misquote or flub up a sermon. Look for ways to point out the failures and weaknesses of others. Pastors especially can do great damage by guilting members into submission through criticism. This not only will help damage your church, but it will also make you feel better about yourself in the process. It is probably necessary to point out how the decorations in the building are out of style or how annoying that guy is. If you are creative, you can actually find a lot of ways to implement criticism in your church.
  3. Be Judgmental! Jesus said that by our love for one another we demonstrate our connection to Christ as disciples. Therefore, if we can stand in judgment over one another, no one will know we are disciples of Jesus. The best way to be judgmental is to compare everyone and everything not to the Word of God and Truth, but to myself and what I believe is “my truth.” When someone lets you down, lower your voice and speak of how you cannot respect them…by all means do not forgive them. Be ready to catch people in their failings that way you can not only show your superiority, but also show your humility in being so ready and quick to rebuke. If you are looking for a softer way to be judgmental. Do all these things but do them in your mind, not publicly; this way, you can still be judgmental but no one has to know. As long as we are judging another, we will not be able to hear our pesky conscience and the Holy Spirit convicting us.
  4. Gossip. One of the greatest ways to destroy your church is to gossip. Gossip is hard to identify but easy to do so this one takes little effort. Just don’t talk to people concerning disagreements; talk about people concerning disagreements. There are many ways a person can gossip but without that nasty label being attached. One such way is to provide “prayer requests” for people who have “issues.” Another is to start with, “I am not gossiping, I am just concerned with what so and so is doing?” Above all, start your story with “I have been praying about this and God laid it on my heart to tell you…” This way, the recipient of the story can not possibly stop you from doing God’s will. Another way to be involved with the gossip train while not getting your hands dirty is to simply listen to others’ gossip because “people just talk with me.”
  5. Do Nothing. Finally, the fifth way in which one can effectively render his church useless is to do nothing. Attend as few services as possible, sit in the pews and listen to the sermon halfheartedly. Do not talk about spiritual things to other members of the church, give the minimum in the offering that makes you feel good about yourself. Never, ever refer to the church as “us,” “we,” or “our church.” Always say, “your church.”Only volunteer to serve after having received a “guilt trip.” Don’t be creative in gospel ministry, and by no means share your faith with your co-workers or neighbors. In fact, if you just sit back and stay as aloof as possible, never making connections, never serving, but only ever taking from the church; enough damage will be done that when the struggling church begins to sputter and die, you can pick up your family and go somewhere else without a guilty conscience. Pastors once again can really help with this one. Presenting little opportunity for feedback, micro-managing, or criticizing servants will push them to desire to serve no one.

Of course I hope we all realize that these five, while Biblically accurate, are not desired and this author is using the literary device of satire to arrest our thinking. God give us the wisdom and grace to glorify his name in the church, not to tear it down. Proverbs 6:19 describes one who “sows discord among brothers” as being an abomination to God. This doesn’t mean that discord is abominable-it happens. But one who sows it, plants it, cultivates it instead of resolving it is being described by several of these five points. Please dear reader, take what is written here as a warning, not criticism–the leadership as well as the membership of a local church must be serious about building up God’s church. For how can we exalt the name of the One who died for the church, if we are not actively building up that which he died for? God give us the grace to exalt the local church, not destroy it.


  1. Cathy said:

    That was a neat way to write these truths. Thanks, Pastor Matt.

    April 5, 2012
  2. Sarah said:

    That is very true, there are overly critical, mean-spirited people who ‘bash’ the church and individuals in it, and are self-absorbed takers who never give. However, we don’t want people to be afraid that they will be labeled as one of those kinds if they are merely rebuking or edifying the church (or individuals within it) in a spirit of love and gentleness. In articles that discuss how terrible it is for people to ‘judge’ or ‘criticize’ or things of that nature, I always hope that there is at least a mention of the flip side of the topic to balance out anyone possibly misunderstanding the topic of biblical judgment or related topics, as people oftentimes do if only one extreme is stressed. I know the other side could be explained better by you than me, but just in case you don’t know what I mean, I would say that it is equally wrong when individuals in the church are afraid to use the gifts that God gives them for teaching, correcting, exhorting, edifying, etc. for fear of being labeled as ‘judgmental’, etc. This fear causes a lot of individuals that make up the body to not really grow in love for one another, or in spiritual maturity within themselves, because they are not reaping the benefit of practicing these commands of Scripture. Maybe it is because of cultural influence that most of us are afraid to obey these commands to teach and edify and exhort.. Any thoughts on this? I would love to hear what you have to say about that side of the topic.

    April 11, 2012
  3. pmatt said:

    Sarah, of course you are correct. There must always be a balance in church ministry. The Scripture says not to judge but also says to make righteous judgments. This is not contradiction but wisdom concerning how we are to relate to one another. To know when to hold our peace and when to speak is a grace of God. James nails this on the head. However, I tried to point out someone with a critical spirit is not seeking information, understanding, or clarity; but is simply throwing out accusations. Godless judgment assumes motives and compares what is wrong with their feelings, impressions, or opinions rather than the clear teachings of Scripture. A critical person is rarely concerned with the one they are criticizing or the church, but are more concerned about being right. A critical person cares about being shown to be correct (kind of like a “I told you so attitude”) rather than true spiritual concern over the need. We all make judgments and we must based upon the Word of God. I believe the chief distinction is as you said, genuine correction, instruction and encouragement borne out of love. The Pharisees were critical of Jesus and his disciples, nit picking everything, and theirs was a heart problem. It is important that anytime we see the need to provide constructive criticism that we ask God to search our hearts and we examine our motives. If what we feel we need to address is Biblical, helpful, and will build up the body, we should be loving and bold in our approach. Always remembering that questions reveal the heart, but accusations harden the will. Jesus was our great example of this when dealing with the disciples (not the Pharisees). By no means should my post be taken as censure of those who challenge authority. All saints are priests before God. We ought to all be critical thinkers with our minds immersed in the Scripture as we are the pillar and ground of the truth. Thanks for your comment, a very helpful balance to this article. I think I will write an article soon discussing this necessary balance.

    April 11, 2012
  4. Sarah said:

    That is a nice contrast of the two types of ‘judging.’ Sometimes I think of analogies to explain concepts, and one came to mind just now. I was thinking that the first type of judging, the sinful type that is more of a critical attitude that you explained, is like a person pointing a finger and looking down on everyone else. Maybe we can picture them standing up above towering over everyone else labeling them as they point. The second one, the one who would be judging with righteous judgment (or maybe edifying or exhorting in love) is almost like a surgeon carefully helping someone get rid of something harmful that is inside them, maybe a tumor or something, and they are doing it with the goal of helping them to get better — not to feel as if they are superior. Of course, most analogies have some flaws in them, but it was just a quick one that sort of illustrates part of what the difference is. This is really fun to talk about, and I’m glad that maybe I’ve given you a little challenge to spark up some more thoughts for more writings 🙂 Yes, that is so true – we all ought to be “critical thinkers with our minds immersed in the Scripture..” It is something that God wants ALL of His people to do, to grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, and His Word (tempered with love!). And that kind of goes along with your recent sermons about how there are different gifts, yet most of them are meant for everyone to do as they are commands for Christians in general throughout the New Testament, even though some are more ‘gifted’ at certain ones than others.

    April 19, 2012

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