9 Ways to Screw Up Your Church (Thoughts from I Corinthians)

I preached this message in my first pastorate as we began a new church year. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with this concept, it takes place after a church goes through a ton of bureaucracy to fill positions and has umpteen committee and business meetings before it gets passed. This “church year” begins normally around the first Sunday of September.

The church at Corinth was the most worldly, sinful church in Scripture. Paul had a lot to say to them. Based on their sinfulness, here are 9 ways for you to help screw up your church:

  1. Have preacher religion (1:10-17). The Corinthian church was arguing about their favorite preachers: Paul, Apollos, Jesus. This is no different from many today. I asked a church when its best days were, a lady replied that _________ was their favorite preacher. That wasn’t what I asked. Obviously, their best days were when they were pacified.
  2. Operate in human wisdom (1:18-2:16). Quit preaching the cross, start following your own ideas, and don’t ask God what He wants. This will screw your church up in a heartbeat. Many assist in this process by voting on God’s will. God’s will needs no vote. Just do it!
  3. Don’t grow up spiritually (3:1-4)! Don’t study the Bible! Just let the preacher do all the praying and thinking for you. That’s what you pay him the big bucks for, right? WRONG!!!!
  4. Refuse to do your part in God’s work and be unfaithful stewards of His resources (3:5-4:2). If you do, you will lose rewards and dishonor the Lord in the process.
  5. Live outside God’s boundaries for sex and marriage (ch. 5 & 7). The Corinthian church had a guy who was being sexually immoral with his stepmother. Scripture says that sin affects the whole church because it’s the body of Christ. Paul had to go into great detail about sexual matters in chapter 7. This matter was later addressed through church discipline. A biblical church will help restore people to a right path with God.
  6. Act like babies (ch. 6). Don’t forgive each other. The Corinthians were taking each other to court over petty matters. When this is happening, you might as well take pews or chairs out of the worship center and put in cribs.
  7. Do whatever you want to do (6:12-20; ch. 9). The Bible says that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, so we belong to God. We can’t call our own shots. He is our Commander in Chief.
  8. Don’t care about your Christian brothers and sisters (ch. 8; 10:23-33). The Corinthians did not care if what they did was a stumbling block to others.
  9. Abuse the public worship service (chs. 11-14). The Corinthian church treated worship services as a free-for-all. They abused spiritual gifts in order to show off their “spirituality”. Paul rebuked them and told them to serve in love (ch. 13) because love is more important than any public parade of spiritual gifts.

I guided the church toward the right thing by telling them what not to do. I had such a positive response after this message. I was sure that I had some people angry after I said, “If you are known for your meanness rather than your love, don’t tell anyone you’re a member here.”

I pray this will help you be a blessing in your church by doing the opposite of what the Corinthians did. The next time you get together with your Christian brothers and sisters, strive now more than ever to be a blessing. You never know the impact you can make.

15 thoughts on “9 Ways to Screw Up Your Church (Thoughts from I Corinthians)

      1. Exactly! I’m always amazed at the revelation I receive from other people’s walk with God and when I read the Word for myself in my quiet time. God always has something new to reveal to those that diligently seek Him. And for that, I remain in Awe. 😀

  1. Amen, Matthew! I liked this. We recently had a bible study about the Corinthians that was kind of fun, but not as fun as your babies and cribs idea. That made me laugh. Being kind to one another and working out conflicts is so important. Like grown ups are supposed to do. 🙂

  2. I love the sentence, “If you are known for your meanness rather than your love, don’t tell anyone you’re a member here.” Believers need to understand that the world will sometimes judge all of us, and even the Lord, by the actions and words of those who claim to follow Jesus.

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