A church should not make you feel worse when you leave – than when you come in.
Again, think ye that we excuse ourselves unto you? we speak before God in Christ: but we do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying. (2 Corinthians 12:19 KJB:PCE)
ED’IFY, v.t. [L. oedifico; oedes, a house, and facio, to make.]
1. To build, in a literal sense. [Not now used.]
2. To instruct and improve the mind in knowledge generally,and particularly in moral and religious knowledge, in faith and holiness.
Edify one another. 1 Th 5.
3. To teach or persuade. [Not used.]
ED’IFYING, ppr. Building up in christian knowledge; instructing; improving the mind.
A church should build up. Yes, the Word is to correct, reprove, teach doctrine, and instruct in righteousness – but some churches excel in the correcting and reproving part.
We are to build up the saints, not just tear them down.
A ministry must always be in balance. If your focus is always just on a warning ministry, your congregation will get a “holier than thou” attitude. Why? All they hear about is why everyone else is in error! While this is the ministry David Cloud is called to, he keeps it in balance by writing and publishing works that teach how to grow as a Christian, how to study your Bible… indeed, his most famous work is the “Way of Life Encyclopedia“, which I strongly recommend.
If all you do is chasten, rebuke and correct, your congregation will leave feeling guilty and condemned.
If all you do is encourage and build up, your congregation will be fluff, just feeling good about themselves, but not growing as Christians. and if you’re taking repentance out of the Gospel, your filling your pews with unconverted souls, who will feel really good about themselves as they happily march off to hell.
If all they learn is doctrine, then you’ll have a cold, heartless church that knows all about separation and Baptist history and doctrinal successionism, etc… but they have no love for one another.
All things must be emphasized in balance, to prevent these issues.