These are not original to me. The inimitable Gregg Greenway, pastor of Southside Baptist Church in Stuttgart, Arkansas, shared these Monday night at the annual meeting of our Baptist Association. He spoke about four things that a church must do if they're going to survive as a church. There were several Scripture references under each one, and I didn't write them all down. I'll give you what I remember. Here they are:
1. Preach the Word: that church which does not grow spiritually in discipleship on a steady stream of the Word of God will cease to be a church that is a force for the Kingdom of God. The Word of God must be preached/taught/shared/learned/use-whatever-verb-fits-for-explaining-and-understanding or the individual local church is done for. No matter the denomination.
2. Pray. Why in the world do we have to say this? But we do: too many Western Christians just don't pray. Too many Western Churches just don't pray. If you are not pouring out before God for Him to work, then you're not doing anything worth doing, because it's all trivial. If you're not praying, it's because you think God is unnecessary to your plan. Is that a church of the Living God?
3. Evangelize: there are people within rock-throwin' distance of most Christians that do not know Jesus. If church people aren't telling others about Jesus, who will? TV preachers? Honestly, folks, find someone to tell about Jesus, and do it now. Then find someone else and do it again.
4. Get Along: If you're fighting in church, are you accomplishing anything useful? Not likely. You're too busy fighting. Stop it. If it's not about immorality or heresy, why are you stressed about it? We fail on this because we're not doing the first 3 things. We need to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and learn to get along with each other. After all, that other guy in church? He's likely to be in heaven with you. What are you going to do if his room in the many mansions (John 14:1-6) is next to yours? Practice now.
This is just a summary, but I think you get the idea. Bro. Gregg Greenway preached this October 10, 2011, at Southside Baptist in Stuttgart. If you're in Stuttgart, go hear him on a Sunday. It won't hurt you one bit.