DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I’ve had three bad church experiences, and I’m not going to let myself in for another one. The problem was always people who couldn’t get along with others, mainly because they wanted to be in charge and control everything. Why is that? I still believe in God, but I’ve had it with church. — K.W.
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Let me be honest: No church is perfect. I heard someone say once that if you ever found a perfect church, it would stop being perfect the minute you joined!
But your letter saddened me, because no church should be this way. God doesn’t want Christians to be squabbling over minor things or constantly trying to gain control over others. Instead, when Christians come together their fellowship should be marked by a deep love for each other, and a genuine focus on Christ and his will. The Bible says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).
When Christians fight, the devil rejoices — and he rejoices too when their fighting drives others away. To put it another way, the last thing Satan wants you to do is find a church where Christ is honored and you can grow in your relationship to him. Don’t become a spiritual dropout, but ask God to help you find a church where you can grow. The Bible says, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up on meeting together but encouraging one another” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
How will you find the right church? Make it a matter of prayer, visit churches in your area, talk with people who are already members. Don’t be discouraged, but trust God to lead you to a church that not only doesn’t have these problems, but also will welcome you with love and joy.