Our church is being used for God’s glory in the midst of many challenges. You can get a small taste of this glory when you read our cover story this month which details the recent influx of visitors we have been having.
Like many other American churches, we are in a time of transition. Not only is our own membership changing as we naturally grow older but the very culture of our nation is in an unprecedented time of flux. In the midst of this we are trying to reach a community that is also changing. Through all of this we desire to move forward as wisely as possible.
As we go through this transition together, I don’t want you to perceive the struggles we are having as unique or as a sign of defeat. All over the United States, churches like ours are facing the same difficulties. We are not alone. We have to remember we are in a spiritual battle that gets more intense as we grow closer to the return of Jesus.
Paul says we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood. He tells us the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of this world. Jesus tells us Satan is like a lion looking for people to devour, and that Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy.
So, not only are we battling change within and a changing culture, but we are also in a deeply spiritual battle. Do not lose sight of this. TBC Cayce is in a very real war for the city of Cayce and the surrounding region. Satan would like nothing more than to make us ineffective.
So, how do we meet this challenge? First we must love. We must love each other through the change and love our community enough to meet their needs. Often churches in transition begin to blame each other as they struggle through the many challenges of transition rather than working together. We also have to love the community enough to make changes that will show Christ’s love outside our doors even when it means we must sacrifice our own preferences.
Second, we need to listen to God and let Him be the one who guides us. It is not to be like another church or to come up with clever programs. Once we are sure He has spoken we must then walk by faith trusting that He will guide us in the right direction no matter how difficult the journey may appear.
Third, and similar to the second point, we need to let God be our Shepherd. We can try to fight the battle in the flesh or we can rely on God. We can let Him fight off the enemy and bind up our wounds when needed. That is the role of the Shepherd after all. We are sheep. Our role is to follow and obey the Shepherd. If we do that we can trust He is taking us in a specific direction for a heavenly purpose.
Finally, we must not resist change or see it as the enemy. The reality is that, whether we like it or not, things are changing. As we see throughout the Bible, it is possible to stay faithful to God no matter what the culture around us looks like.
So, if you ever start to doubt God’s work at TBC Cayce, remember that Jesus died for the church. Our God loves us and will be faithful to transform us into exactly what He needs us to be to best serve Him as we go through this time of transition if we will love, listen and allow Him to shepherd us in these challenging times.
The preceding article was originally published in Volume 40, Issue 4 of our monthly newsletter, The Trumpet.