A crisis is certain to occur eventually in every new church. New churches often face tragedy in their infancy while they are still weak. It is important to remember that we are in a spiritual battle against principalities and powers. Satan tries to destroy new churches before they even get established.
There are numerous ways Satan will attack. He can attack our health, our finances, or our reputation. Satan is a liar, and he will put thoughts into our mind to discourage us and get us out of the will of God. Therefore, we must be committed to serving God and continuing in the battle. We must not quit, and we must remain resolute in our stand for God.
We should not be surprised when Satan attacks, and we must be prepared to stand against him.
“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. …and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore.”— Ephesians 6:11–14
Though Satan’s attacks have the intent of destroying the church, God has a plan to build His church through these trials. As was the case with Joseph’s trials, so God will bring good out of crisis. He will give us beauty for ashes.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”—Romans 8:28.
At the time of a calamity, it is a real crisis, and at first it seems to be the worst thing that could happen to us. But after we pray and seek God it will become apparent that He has a higher and more noble purpose that can be accomplished through this trial.
Finding a meeting place is a common problem, and it can be one of the most challenging aspects of church planting. After much prayer and effort, a meeting place may be found only to face the reality that it is temporary. A flood, a hurricane, vandalism, or a fire could destroy your meeting place making it seem there is no place to turn. Yet God can use such a trial as an opportunity to stay in closer contact with new members, or God may use this to better publicize your church and to get the attention of your community.
When our church first started, we moved five times in two years. Every move, though painful at the time, proved to be blessing. One new church was required to hold its revival meeting in a different location every night of the meeting. This was difficult, but God proved Himself strong during this time. Every time a church moves, it is an excuse to contact every person on the mailing list. This keeps your people informed and encouraged. An unexpected aspect of tragedy is people in the community are often sympathetic to trouble and will give their aid, whereas they might not have done so except for the crisis.
Recently, two new churches were devastated by a hurricane. Within two weeks one church acquired an entirely new meeting place that was better than their old location. In addition, believers all over the world were praying for them, and financial assistance was given to help meet the need. The other church took the opportunity to help others in need. As a result, the town officials designated them as an official site to help those in need. They were able to distribute food, water, blankets, and many other supplies to the community including a tract in each bundle of aid. They got free advertising that never could have been purchased.
No one desires to face trials and tribulations, but God in His mercy takes us through these times to prove us and prepare us so that we can be more effective in His work. Times of trials can bring the church family together like nothing else. We are in a spiritual warfare, and we must remain faithful and steadfast. When we remain faithful we will see God protect us and turn our tragedies into triumphs.
“But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”—Gen 50:20