Bill Campbell

Thoughts of Life and Ministry

AVOIDING THE NUISANCE OF NEGATIVITY

The failure of congregations to progress and move forward are numerous. Manifold. It would require numerous pages to describe the various reasons for congregational decline.

One major reason why congregations often fall into decline though stems from a most subtle and overlooked factor: abnormal negativity being in operation within a church fellowship. While negativity can emerge in any size fellowship, it will often occur in smaller congregations. With congregations that are more passive in their culture than they are active in ministry.

Certain members will begin to find fault with something that’s been said or not said; that’s been done or left undone. The supposed fault will be exaggerated. Blown out of proportion. Talked about to a point of exasperation. And like cancer it will grow like a rolling snow ball among a certain group who have been apprised of the supposed fault. The fault will then eventually be raised to a most unnecessary and highly elevated status.

Congregations fail to understand that such activities are highly dismantling. It damages a church on the inside. It nonetheless damages a church and its image among those on the outside. A church with negativity comes to inherit a reputation and image of being a fighting and feuding fellowship. People soon choose to avoid any connection with a church that’s like this. If I could portray its evil in the most effective way possible, I would refer to it as one of the, “sins of highly defective congregations.”

Problems like this need to be highlighted. Brought into the daylight. Exposed. But problems need solutions. Ways, that is, to avoid such a serious pitfall in congregational life. How may the evil of negativity be overcome?

  • By persons asking themselves, “am I part of the problem of negativity? In other words, have I fallen into this evil and subtle trap with others?”
  • By understanding that negativity is part of the devil’s strategy for disrupting a congregation’s unity.
  • By eliminating yourself from the circle of influencers who major in negativity.
  • By understanding that you are hurting the health and well-being of your congregation by being a  participant in negative messaging.
  • By recognizing and understanding that abnormal engagement in negativity is one of the “sins of highly defective churches.”
  • By acknowledging negativity as a growing problem in your life, and making a departure from it, along with asking for God’s forgiveness, as you seek a renewed pathway.
  • By planting positive seeds rather than negative seeds in the life of your congregation, as you develop a positive attitude with the use of your lips and life.

Negativity, I’m discovering, can easily become a lifestyle. A response to everything experienced. An ever developing attitude.  It can be initiated much easier than it can be eliminated. Only as we look to God for direction through Scripture and prayer, and come to see its evil in operation, are we able to make a departure from its evil ways.

I like the following words from an anonymous source: “A bad attitude is like a flat tire. You can’t go anywhere until you change it.”

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September 17, 2013 - Posted by | Christ, Christian Life, Church, Church and Family, Church and Ministry, Church Growth, Church Health, Church Leadership, Church Unity, Coaching, Discipleship, God, Outreach, Prayer, Relationships, Service, Spirituality, The Devil, The Tongue

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