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Unity in Christ, Not Comparison

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Have you ever heard the phrase "comparison breeds contempt?" Have you experienced the phenomenon yourself? I did this past week…

Kevin and I were texting with a dear friend. She asked what we had been up to. Kevin told her how we’d been leading a VBS Backyard Bible Club at our house. She responded that she was also helping with VBS at her church. She went on to say that the church had 600 volunteers and almost 1000 children in attendance.

My immediate response was to compare my quaint VBS to her church’s. For the next hour or so I was in despair. I felt hurt that she shared these numbers with me, and I felt embarrassed that my group was so tiny in comparison to hers.It has been a VBS tradition to share stats at the end of the event. How many kids were in attendance and therefore heard the gospel, how many professions of faith were made and how many baptisms, that sort of thing. I bet different churches track different metrics and after tracking we have data to compare. But, should we?

I often feel discouraged when I compare our church or my ministry in the church to other churches. Look how many staff they have. Check out all the programs they offer. And it’s not always me being jealous. Sometimes I think things like, “I’m so glad our church doesn’t have a celebrity preacher” (not yet, at least ; ))

Don’t worry, I didn’t dwell in despair too long. I quickly pulled myself together. I know my friend did not share her news to be hurtful. Ministry is not a competition. The exchange made me think about how I talk to others about our church. Wouldn’t it be better if I share how myself and others we know are growing and changing instead of simply passing along numbers? I’m going to try to make that a new habit.

A few days later, we had our choir performance and sang the words,

"Although, we may be different, in Christ our souls are the same
One Lord, one faith, baptized in grace, bearing our savior’s name
And since we have the spirit, we lay the old self down
And humbly walk as Christ has taught, sharing the grace we’ve found
And for this we strain, till we all attain, to unity in the faith
In knowledge of Christ, in fullness of life, maturing us day by day
His body, the church, his masterful work, will ever be on the move
And each will supply, the whole with their life, till all has been made new."

These words are from Song of Unity by Matt Bowen based on Ephesians 4.

The Church is made up of many smaller churches and we may have many differences, but we have unity in Christ. At least we should, right? Comparison - feeling better than another church - is not walking in humility. Feeling bad because another church is having success is not unity in Christ.

Instead, let’s do this:
"His body the church, His masterful work, Will ever be on the move
And each will supply, The whole with their life, Till all has been made new." 
- April Lintz, Children's Director 
Posted by April Lintz