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About a year ago, Ray Ortlund met me at Starbucks in Nashville. We are similar – in age, in enjoyment of Starbucks, and in our experience in church. He recently wrote an article about how to destroy your church. As you read this, you realize it is easy – diabolically easy.

Week One: Walk into church today and think about how long you’ve been a member, how much you’ve sacrificed, how under-appreciated you are. Take note of every way you’re dissatisfied with your church now. Take note of every person who displeases you.

Meet for coffee this week with another member and “share your heart.” Discuss how your church is changing, how you are being left out. Ask your friend who else in the church has “concerns.” Agree together that you must “pray about it.”

Week Two: Send an email to a few other “concerned” members. Inform them that a groundswell of grievance is surfacing in your church. Problems have gone unaddressed for too long. Ask them to keep the matter to themselves “for the sake of the body.”

As complaints come in, form them into a petition to demand an accounting from the leaders of the church. Circulate the petition quietly. Gathering support will be easy. Even happy members can be used if you appeal to their sense of fairness – that your side deserves a hearing. Be sure to proceed in a way that conforms to your church constitution, so that your petition is procedurally correct.

Week Three: When the growing moral fervor, ill-defined but powerful, reaches critical mass, confront the elders with your demands. Inform them of all the woundedness in the church, which leaves you with no choice but to put your petition forward. Inform them that, for the sake of reconciliation, the concerns of the body must be satisfied.

Whatever happens from this point on, you have won. You have changed the subject in your church from gospel advance to your own grievances. To some degree, you will get your way. Your church will need three or four years for recovery. But at any future time, you can do it all again. It only takes three weeks.

Just one question. Even if you are being wronged, “Why not rather suffer wrong?” (1 Corinthians 6:7)



  1. In my own experience, I’ve seen it take less time and more time, depending on the church.

    When it takes more, it’s because you spend an extra week making a long list of verses (out of context) to back up what you are doing.

    When less, it’s typically because of congregationslism, where people already have a forum to make unbiblical, demonic trouble.

    If we all stopped thinking about ourselves as part of a church and started thinking of ourselves as the church corporately, we would probably be better off.

    Good article!

  2. How easy, that those with the gift of discernment can see it right away….and yet those who are supposedly more “spirtiual”, it takes a year or two to see what is really happening around them. How sad, that our churches are filled with people who want nothing more than to cause dissention, because their own personal needs are not being met. Whatever happened to coming t church so that you could hear the true Word of God, and then go out and share that with others. Church is not a country club, nor is it a business. It is a place where our Pastor teaches us, in depth, what our Lord is saying in His word. It is then our responsibility to go out and teach that to others.

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