As a church, who are we competing against? Other churches? No. We are competing against everything. We are competing against the beach, cleaning out the garage, playing tennis, going fishing, sports activites, the cares of this life, the deceitfulness of riches, sleeping in, self-centeredness, the god of this world, spiritual blindness, etc. You name it.
Let’s say you run a karate school and you’re trying to grow your business. You’ve got a brand new space, a handful of promising black-belt students, and a decent operation. In order to take things to the next level, you’ve got to outshine and outsell your competition. But your competition ISN’T the karate school on the other side of town. Your competition is the gymnastics center, the soccer league, and the summer drama camp. Parents have limited dollars to spend on extra-curricular activities for their kids, and they ARE NOT debating between which karate classes is the best choice; they are debating on which activity is best for their kids.
It is a wast of time (as well as an exercise in futility) for church leaders to spend their time competing against other churches in town and putting them down, as if they were the real competition. No, they are not. Worldliness is the real competition. Our task is to convince people that Christ is better than soccer, gymnastics, volleyball, Sunday fishing trips, or any other alternative. We must teach people that salvation and discipleship is better than worldly success or human achievments. In fact, heaven is better than hell. THAT is our task.