Matthew 6:18 - And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
A few months ago I had to fly to Texas for a business trip. Because the city where my meeting was being held also had a cruise port, my wife decided to go with me and we took a cruise a few days before my meeting started. It was a rare opportunity for us to get away together.
As we were leaving the port, we noticed the water in the port was grey and not very pretty. When we arrived at our destination in the Caribbean Sea, the water was strikingly colorful with bands of blue and green. Out of curiosity, I googled why the water was different in color between the two places. Though there are a variety of theories, the bottom line was that the water is so colorful and amazing in the Caribbean because the water is healthy and full of life. Microscopic organisms make the water rich with color and provide a healthy foundation on which the rest of the ecosystem is built. On the contrary, the grey water in the port had very little life left in it, and therefore the ecosystem there was much less healthy, making it less colorful and less beautiful.
There is a powerful spiritual truth to be learned in the contrast between these two types of water. Just like one body of water had more life and beauty than the other, some churches have more life and beauty than others. Some churches have endured so much spiritual pollution over the years there is little life left in them. They go through the motions but it lacks the vitality it once had. The entire spiritual ecosystem has been compromised. Though it is possible for it to be brought back to health, that cannot happen without radical alteration of fundamental actions and even then it will take a long period of time.
Other churches have a healthy spiritual foundation, and therefore a healthy spiritual environment where Christians in various stages of life can grow and thrive. Those churches have colorful ministries and powerful life giving programs. They are stunning to observe, and rightly so.
The contrast between the two is clear to anyone with eyes to see. Though it can be painful we must ask ourselves what is our church like? Is it filled with spiritual pollution or is it healthy? If we realize our church is unhealthy, what can we do to help rejuvenate it so new life can emerge? We know the Lord wants our church to be healthy. If we are willing to do our part to bring that about, we know the Lord will bless those efforts. But as long as we live in denial, or are unwilling to do what needs to be done, our church will remain unhealthy.
Lord, help our churches to be full of life and vitality. Help us to do our part to make it so. Amen.
Dr. Terry W. Dorsett serves at the Executive Director of the Baptist Convention of New England. He has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at: