Seven Ways to Allow Satan to Destroy A Church
Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. 1 Peter 5:8
I’m not a pastor who is constantly looking for Satan behind everything that goes wrong. I concentrate my attention on Jesus and encourage others to follow Jesus—and not to focus on the defeated one.
We are to keep “our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith.”
Yet, I’m fully aware Satan loves to destroy—or attempt to destroy—a church. Obviously, Satan is a limited being—and God’s church is secure. The gates of hell shall never overcome what God started. But Satan certainly loves to disrupt the work of God’s church—and the work of those who love the church.
Here are seven ways Satan tries to destroy a church:
Satan loves business meetings that get out of hand or when two church members have disagreements inside or outside of church. He loves when church members argue about trivial things, such as colors of the carpet, or big things, such as whether to add another service. Worship style or pastoral authority—doesn’t matter to the evil one. Show him a potential argument and he’s willing to stir the fire—and these days he may use social media to do it.
Staff or volunteer burnout
Satan loves to burn out a church volunteer, staff member or pastor. If he can make them feel they are no longer needed, their work is not appreciated or they no longer have anything to offer—he feels he’s winning part of the battle. He loves to spread the lies of discouragement and unworthiness.
Satan is the stirrer of dissension. He likes to plant little seeds of a juicy story about someone in the church or community—sometimes even the pastor or staff—and watch them quickly spread. The version, of course, usually grows to a larger portion than reality. Satan likes this too. If you’re tempted to repeat something you know you shouldn’t, the enemy will make sure you find an opportunity.
Satan loves to distract church goers with a plethora of activity, which produce little results in Kingdom-building but make people feel they’ve done something. He loves programs, activities, full calendars—if they keep people busy in the church so they never have time to share the Gospel outside the church. And he has been known to guilt people into staying busy, so they never rest and eventually burnout—then fallout altogether.
Satan attempts to interject what is often called a “half-truth”—just a hint of false doctrine—and then watch it disrupt or divide a body. Of course, we all know half-truth is really just a cleaned up version of a bold face lie, but Satan is clever enough to disguise a lie in a way where false teachers gain entry and do damage before being discovered. The enemy also loves to condemn you, convince you you’ll never measure up and remind you all the things you did wrong. He is not afraid to lie about God’s grace, His unconditional love or the Spirit’s work in your heart.
Satan loves when the church makes the news—especially if there’s a good, juicy, gossipy headline in the local paper. If it will split, divide or destroy a church body—even better. If it will destroy someone’s Kingdom calling or work—he’ll take it too. He’s striving for Christian leaders—he wants to destroy their reputation—the more people thought it was foolproof the better.
Marriage and family disruptions
Satan loves to destroy any relationship, but he also goes after key leaders’ marriages—even the pastor’s marriage. He likes to encourage prodigal children—to never return home. He wants to cause families to fight within the church and fight with the church. Satan knows if he can destroy a home, he has a better chance of destroying a church.
Thankfully, there is good news:
You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 1 John 4:4
Let’s be aware—and stand strong, Church.