A couple of months ago I started going through a new leadership book. One of the key points of focus was a compelling word: Alignment. An example you’ve heard is, “my car is out of alignment”. If a car veers to the right or the left after you let go of the steering wheel for a moment, your car is out of alignment.
Alignment in this sense is in the physical realm, but another definition applies it toward people: “a state of agreement or cooperation among persons, groups, nations, etc., with a common cause or viewpoint.”
Did you notice the last part of the definition directed at a common cause or viewpoint? This principle can apply to families and even marriages. But alignment is also deeply important for churches.
If leaders aren’t aligned it leads to no clear vision or direction. If ministries are not aligned it leads to “silo” ministry with everyone believing that their ministry is the most important. The result of misalignment in churches is confusion, conflict and very little unity.
The result of misalignment in churches is confusion, conflict and very little unity.
Another area where alignment is a must, both for a follower of Christ and even a church, can be found in the answer to this question: Are we aligned when it comes to Christ and the salvation that he alone provides?
Maybe you assume that churches and people who claim a faith all believe the same things about Christ and the key doctrines surrounding salvation. But history tells us that from the very first days when churches were formed there were disagreements (not aligned) about Jesus.
After our current series we will begin a study in the New Testament book of Colossians. This book is a letter written to a church that was struggling to have a clear understanding of Christ and his mission. Certain unscrupulous people were looking to derail a clear focus on Christ and his sufficiency.
Here are some of the issues that these people were bringing forth that created great doctrinal misalignment:
- Ceremonialism: People were promoting strict rules about the kinds of permissible food, drink, and religious festivals.
- Trusting in rules for spiritual change by using flawed wisdom like, “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”
- People were getting caught up in Angel worship.
- False teachers worked hard to devalue Christ.
- Some were promoting secret knowledge. The people boasted about “secret wisdom” that would make one “really spiritual”.
- A misplaced trust, a growing reliance on human wisdom and tradition.
But…realize that those beliefs continue today and cause people that are attending churches in the 21st century to keep their eyes and hearts from focusing on Christ. I am looking forward to digging in to learn and grow as we unpack this letter that Paul wrote to the church.
Can I throw you a challenge? How about taking some time over the next month and read through this short letter. It will prepare your heart and mind to engage with the sermons and grow toward a deeper and richer alignment with Christ.
Ready for summer!