I am not easily offended, being offended does not necessarily equate to being right.

Dear member of His church family,

As I reflect on the state of faith in the church today, I am reminded of the imagery of proud trees standing tall. Trees, as you may know, are often used as symbols of people in the Bible. Just as it is written in Ezekiel 17:24, “All the trees of the field will know that I am the LORD; I bring down the high tree, exalt the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree flourish. I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will perform it.” These words hold true not only throughout human history but also within our own church today.

Recently, I encountered discussions among church leaders concerning smaller congregations and their ability to weather economic challenges. There was talk of larger churches potentially absorbing these smaller ones as they face closure, “because they don’t have the money we have”. This way of thinking is concerning, as it doesn’t align with God’s way. God doesn’t favor the proud, the self-righteous, the legalistic, those who prioritize material wealth over the Spirit of God, or those who deny a seat at the front of the church to individuals with a past marked by mistakes. Remember that even Peter, the rock of the Church, denied Christ.

In the current age, we find ourselves in a consumer-driven culture, where some churches are striving to be a product rather than a gathering of faithful followers. People are easily influenced by the ever-changing culture, often confusing legal demands imposed by the government or fraudulent authorities in the church with the word of God. In the context of our great nation, the United States, there’s a growing sense of pride that we must be cautious about, for it can lead to our downfall.

The humble tree will be exalted. Humility lies in acknowledging that any favor we receive comes from Christ, not our own deeds. It is found in churches that invest their time, resources, and energy in ministries that help the broken and the needy, rather than in elaborate shows, special guests, and performances. Our aim should be to create a place of acceptance, not merely a marketable product.

When a church withers and declines, it is often due to pride. A thriving church doesn’t succeed because of an individual, money, or worldly accomplishments, but because of the indwelling Spirit of God. We must remember that no one can boast in events, performances, great sermons, or marketable products. Our sole source of boasting should be in Christ Crucified and His ongoing grace in our lives.

Excellence is not defined by wealth, professionalism, or the status of our membership; it flows from the depths of our hearts. I foresee the rise and growth of smaller churches on the horizon because people are growing weary of the glitz, glamour, and the allure of celebrity. What the church truly hungers for is truth, the word of God, and individuals who embody the love of Christ.

If there is poison within your midst, you must address it promptly, or you will risk watching the well become deadly. The poison within the Church today is pride from leadership. It is high time to prune these branches, or God will intervene and cut down the entire tree.

I am deeply concerned about the state of our church today, and my heart aches as I witness people being hurt by the church because some among us are trying to play God instead of following God. My prayer is that grace may fill their spirits, enabling them to see the damage that is being done to the name of our Lord by their pride.

This way of thinking may not be the most popular voice within the church at large, but remember, Jesus faced opposition with the Pharisees. Nonetheless, I am committed to writing these letters, loving God’s children, and, should I have errors in my words, I rely on God’s grace, knowing that His Spirit will guide and correct me if I stray from the right path.

I acknowledge that I am far from perfect, and I am sincerely convinced that I will never possess all the right answers. I embrace the truth that there is always room for growth, and I genuinely appreciate the presence of people in my life who challenge my perspectives. Please know that I welcome these challenges with an open heart, and I am not easily offended, for I understand that being offended does not necessarily equate to being right.

May the light of the Lord shine brightly upon you, and may His Spirit continually guide your lives.

Grace to you,

Ryan Nelson

House of Grace Church