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June 6
by PastorMatthewBarnett

Church Gangsters…Warning, Pretty Hardcore

I’ve seen it! The devastation of street gangs in a city. We’ve picked up kids on a bus from a housing project, only to have to run a separate bus a hundred yards down the street to pick up kids from a rival project. It would be so simple to combine these routes. However, there are too many fights and divisions on the bus. The division is over hate which has no reasoning behind it.

I often wonder how a few yards can separate communities that should share so much in common. Both communities could rally together concerning fighting poverty or better schools but instead the fight is over something small and meaningless. Kids are raised in camps taught to despise and divide. Usually, it’s over some small beef that took place years ago which simply lingered. Gang division destroys generations.

But there’s something worse. Church gangsters. People fighting over methods and strategy. Blogging about what they don’t like in a minister or ministry based on certain doctrine. It’s the same attitude of Bloods and Crips, raising up a group of people to divide and usually it’s over method, style, or someone else’s success. We should be rallying about Jesus dying on the cross for mankind and cleansing us from our sins. Repentance and confession that lead to salvation.

My heart breaks as I see this play out. The conflicts of street life have entered the church. Pastor, that comparison is too extreme? No, it’s not. People die over this, leave the church, live bitter or angry all in the name of being right or more spiritual than the other group.

A kid was coming to our church. For the first time in his life he was on fire. He found a home in the church. His mother pulled him out of church because we had guitars in worship and wore jeans. The boy never went to church again and we lost him to the world. Street gang thuggery at its finest.

It’s time that we rally around eternal life and what we agree on. Even if we disagree on some things, how in the world is picking on someone who disagrees with you on theology going to change anyone?

It’s time we agree on the important things and leave the gangs of religious camps. The worst thing about arguing over non-essential differences is all the time that could have been used making a difference. I know many people find comfort in their little camp of “Believing their right” but it’s damaging, it hurts people, and has got to stop. Gang mentality amongst ministries might be worse than street gangs because we know the Bible and should know better.

It’s time that the church refuses to “Conform to the world” of gang culture and be famous for our incredible unity on essentials not random things that have no eternal value. Let’s turn in our rags of spiritual camps and come together and change the world.

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