Do churches really feel competition? The answer in our local community is an overwhelming, yes. Two of the most common questions and/or comments among regular church going folks today is: "Which church do you go to" or "that is so and so's church." Adding a little to this, three or four recent surveys and polls recently released show that almost two-thirds of the churches in the U.S. indicate that they feel competition from other churches.
Stories of churches accusing the other of taking the others' members as well as leaders aggressively competing for positions in the church; and of course the many other petty disagreements. Church members at one church refusing to help or participate in a ministry or program at another church. It has even reached the point that it now has become difficult these days to ask a Christian from another church just to unite and pray together for an hour. Goodness the list could go on and on. Churches as a whole, and Christians as individuals, today have taken a downward spiral in terms of being united.
Overall the time has come for churches to serve God's purpose and not their own. After our generation is gone from this earth; we shouldn't expect the next generation to come up with different ideas from ours. The legacy we leave today as a church will be the same that the next generation will take up. What Christians fail to understand is the fact that as long as there is resistance, indifference, or a sense of competition with each church; then no progress is made and above all the devil's work is cut into half.
Is it not crazy that Christians from various churches do not do many things in life together; much less ministry? Is it not seemingly, or entirely, ridiculous that churches keep trying to build ministries and programs without even talking to each other? Partnership is a much more satisfying (not to mention Biblically appropriate) model for building strength than competition. If another church needs help, why not help? If you want to start something new and exciting, why not reach out to other churches too? If another church is starting something different than your your church, why not reach out and see how the two churches together can make more impact? Churches should unite to be powerful in this community; the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 1:10 "I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought."
Churches are not to be in competition, they are to be in community. Churches are not competing businesses trying to get the bigger market share. Churches are the Body of the Lord Jesus Christ, working toward a common goal of reaching people for Him; and making a difference. This is about being kingdom minded with the same pursuit.