“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Anyone who has been part of church life for a significant period of time has likely seen some form of conflict in the church. It may be a mild disagreement or a severe one. It may be an exchange of words where feelings get hurt and relationships consequently bruised, or maybe even broken. Most of us are aware that “church splits” sometime take place when conflict cannot be resolved.
What would it be like if a church would adopt a fundamental practice of encouraging one another and building each other up? Is that too idealistic? Is it unrealistic? Is it too much to expect of those who are supposed to be filled with the Spirit and have a common hope?
Certainly, sin does sometimes enter the equation and can jam the works like a monkey wrench. That we know. But it only remains when people allow pride to take root and determine their directions.
Maybe if a church were to adopt “encourage one another and build each other up” as one of its fundamental task statements, it might make a real difference in the church’s fellowship and, consequently, its effectiveness in the world. It could be that this would actually deepen the church’s appeal to a lost world when the world sees that it can happen. Obviously, there would be slip-ups, but if encouraging one another and building each other up is a stated fundamental for a church, the church can at least continually go back to that.
Lord, Help us to remember that it’s Your church. Help us to put in place those fundamentals that most honor You. Amen.