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It isn’t a competition

“Preacher — how many more of my sheep are you gonna steal?” This was a question posed to me years ago. In case you ever wondered, Church should never be a competition. It isn’t a “who is bigger” or a “who has more people” or even a “who is attending where now.” You see we have made church a competition. But why? We are called to be the Body of Christ. Worship is vital to our existence. Meeting as a family encourages us, motivates, strengthens, gives hope to those struggling. Hebrews 10:25 tells us to “not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another … ” Gathering as a body of believers as often as possible should empower us to grow, help hold us accountable, encourage us to learn together, build together and reach out together. Yet … we like competition. Football season is in full swing this week. I encourage you to go watch a Little League team nearby. Go watch a school team. Enjoy tailgating at a college game. These players compete with all their might. People love watching a competitive game! But what happens when we take that competitive nature into our churches? Damage. Church services should be the binding factor in our Nation and yet Sunday mornings are the most diverse times of all. Read this next sentence slowly and carefully. Church is not a competition. The only competition that should exist is winning souls from the devil. Yet, we allow Satan to gain yards by bickering, arguing, comparing, gossiping, not attending, not living what we claim we believe. “Christian” isn’t a name tag to wear at our convenience. It’s a lifestyle where we admit we fail yet we strive for better days. I love what Matty Mullins said, “The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday.” Church isn’t a building — it’s a people. It’s a people who aren’t better than anyone else, but a people who admit they fall short and need God’s grace. Church isn’t what we do when it’s convenient or an emergency, but where we go to catch our breath relying on those worshipping with us to build up instead of tearing down. Church isn’t a competition as we are all on the same team. Would you like to know my response to the quote this devotion started with? “I am not a sheep stealer — but I gladly throw out feed in case they aren’t eating where they’re at.” Go worship with a family of believers. Don’t worry about who goes or who doesn’t or what others may say. Go where you will be fed. Then go feed. #bethegood.

Rev. J. Cameron Bailey is pastor at Kenbridge Christian Church. He can be reached at www.kenbridgechristian. com.