I’ve survived more than my share of church business meetings. Churches exist for many Biblical purposes, gathered together for purposes of worship, Gospel proclamation, mutual encouragement, training in righteousness and ministering to their communities, but one of the areas that you might find the church gathered together in which they are most likely to depart from these Biblical mandates is the church business meeting. This is not to say that church’s shouldn’t manage their affairs well, but this kind of gathering is one of the most revealing of the hearts of the participants. Many people gather together to encourage and challenge one another to be more involved in the ministry opportunities of the church, but there are some who seem determined to speak and act against others in these situations, often over issues that are far more personal than spiritual. I was reminded of these situations when reading in 1 Timothy 6 this morning.
Timothy was a young pastor/church leader. He had been trained under Paul and was now doing his best to serve the church at Ephesus that Paul had begun. There are many pastors like Timothy, out there trying to continue to serve the Lord and the people of God by teaching the truth of God’s Word and leading those people in obedience to it. It can be a difficult job. It can lead to a great deal of heartache and frustration. From this passage, here are a few “guys” that we should strive not to be as we function as a part of our local body of faith and as we participate in our communities both in person and online as representatives of our local church and our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Don’t be arrogant – Our confidence is in Christ and in the truth of God’s Word, not in our own opinions and intelligence. Humility, rather than arrogance is the ecosystem of church interaction. The Bible encourages over and over again humble ourselves (1 Peter 5:6, James 4:10, Philippians 2:3) and promises honor, wisdom and grace for the humble (Proverbs 15:33, 11:2, James 4:6).
- Don’t lack understanding, with an unhealthy desire to quibble over the meaning of words – I put these two together because they are connected. It is not bad to understand the meaning of words. We need to have well defined language. That is the basis of truth and what brings understanding. The negative is this quibbling that Paul is talking about. Looking at what your brother and sister in Christ has said and either assuming the worst or picking apart what they said, trying to find fault. This is about going to them in private and making sure you understood what was said, but actually creating misunderstanding by the way you interpret their speech.
- Don’t stir up arguments and trouble – This is representative of a divisive spirit (Galatians 5:15, Proverbs 16:28). There are ways to disagree and discuss that don’t stir up arguments and there are other ways that either intentionally or unintentionally throw gasoline on the smallest of spark. We are not to be like this, stirring up trouble that leads to…
- Jealousy, division, slander and evil suspicions. All of these things are very destructive to a community of faith. This represents human sins expressed in ways that are destructive to your believing community. You may be unfortunate enough to remember a specific instance where someone you know stirred up this kind of trouble and created division among believers. Many verses in Scripture speak out against this kind of behavior. Some examples are Romans 12:16, Galatians 5:26, Romans 12:18.
- Don’t let your mind be corrupted, but keep it immersed in the truth – we all consume a variety of information every day. This can be from God’s Word, social media, the news, entertainment or people we interact with. What we consume has a great power to influence the way we think. The only way to avoid a corrupt mind is to avoid turning our backs on the truth. Spending time each day in the truth is a great way to keep our hearts and minds tuned to Christ Jesus. (Psalm 119)
- Don’t make the church about money – Money is important. Generally, more money allows the church to do more things, but it is a terribly dangerous tool that can be used to divide and corrupt believers. Paul talks more about this later in this same passage. We should be careful not to let money control our lives or the life of our church. We are called to be good stewards (1 Peter 4:10), but we are not to allow our lives to be driven and controlled by money (Hebrews 13:5)
Even if you never go to a church business meeting, I hope you will find this guidance as helpful for all of your interactions with fellow believers, both in person and on-line. God has given us to one another to be a great blessing as we walk together in faith. When we follow Him in obedience, we are better together and the church will aid us in our pursuit of Christ, not a be a detriment or a discouragement. Make sure that is true of you in all your “meetings” with the Body of Christ.