Country church building on fire.

Crisis in the Church: A Lesson in Spiritual Discernment

Across the nation, faith communities often grapple with issues such as declining membership and internal discord, yet these issues aren’t always what they seem on the surface. Case in point: First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, in Trenton, Missouri. Over the past months, this church community has been embroiled in a crisis characterized by decreasing membership and escalating tension among its congregants.

Recently, I shared my perspective in an earnest conversation with a fellow churchgoer. Like many others, the fellow churchgoer sought to understand the reasons behind the church’s struggles, attributing the problems to physical causes such as disagreements over seemingly mundane decisions, differences in preferred worship styles, or even the recent death of a Pastor seen as divisive by some.

I offered a drastically different interpretation: I attributed the church’s crisis not to earthly disputes but to a spiritual battle, citing Ephesians 6, which emphasizes that the true struggle is not against flesh and blood but against evil spiritual forces. I know these demonic influences are the real culprits behind the chaos and disunity plaguing our community.

At the heart of this issue, I believe there is a profound lack of spiritual discernment within the congregation. Many rely heavily on the pastor’s weekly sermons for spiritual guidance but fail to turn to the Bible independently to understand their situation. Despite repeated warnings about this spiritual warfare, I lament that my message often fell on deaf ears, with congregants unable or unwilling to acknowledge the unseen forces at work.

In my view, this has led to misguided efforts to mend the church. While well-intentioned, from changing lesson plans to finding a new Pastor, these actions only address the symptoms of the crisis and neglect the underlying spiritual causes.

Near the end of our conversation, I delivered a stark warning. I contend that if the congregation continues to turn a blind eye to the spiritual dimension of their struggles, our church risks being dismantled entirely. I see demonic forces already wreaking havoc within our congregation, which I believe will only worsen if not adequately addressed.

In conclusion, this narrative is a profound reminder of the importance of spiritual discernment in a faith community. It calls us to consider the tangible issues at hand and the unseen spiritual dynamics that may be at play. Whether or not one agrees with my perspective, the lesson here is clear: a holistic approach – one that considers both the physical and the spiritual – is crucial to navigating and hopefully resolving crises within a church community.

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