by Bob Dasal
"Like a mighty army moves the church of God" is a line from the hymn "Onward Christian Soldiers." Sadly, that lyric is not descriptive of most churches.
Why are so many churches in decline? The one-word answer is: division. Jim Cymbala, pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York, said recently, "Division in churches is preventing God's Holy Spirit from working in those churches."
Speaking at the Texas Baptist Evangelism Conference, Cymbala said, "The early Christian church described in the Book of Acts flourished because there was no division among the believers. There was nothing being done to obstruct the work of the Holy Spirit."
It has been said, "The water outside the boat may toss it, but it's only the water in the boat that can sink it." The biggest hindrance we face to fulfilling the Great Commission is the power struggles going on in the church. Churches going through power struggles are not in the position to be blessed or used by God. "A house divided against itself cannot stand" (ref. Luke 11:17) is a foundational principle for the church.
Many times you'll hear people talking about things at their church and continually refer to "they" this and "they" that. Who are "they"? The word describes a divided church. Our adversary understands well the principle "divide and conquer." He will use anything or anyone to accomplish this.
An alive, effective, growing church uses terms like "we" and "us." Their talk is, "we must be about our Father's business" and "all of us together are praying for God's will in our church." Note, "it's the Lord" was the only explanation for what happened in the early church.
The "one accord" of Acts 2:1 is not optional but necessary for churches in the twenty-first century to effectively do their God-given work. A church with leadership committed to God's will, with an under-shepherd in step with the Chief Shepherd, is a "glorious church" (Eph. 5:27).
Bob Dasal is editor-in-chief of Pulpit Helps.