Central Baptist Church of Southington Connecticut


Developing Loyalty

  • Jim Townsley
  • Jul 31, 2015
Loyalty has become a missing virtue in today's society, yet it is an important trait to develop in the members of a new church. Brand loyalty has become a thing of the past and this change has had its effect upon the Christian community as well. Fortunately loyalty is a virtue that can be taught, and if a great church is to be built it must be taught.
It is important to identify the meaning of loyalty and to whom it is due. Wikipedia simply defines loyalty as, "Faithfulness or devotion to a personcountry, group, or cause." Jesus taught that men should, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's." - Mat 22:21. We should be loyal to our government always, unless the government conflicts with God's purposes, and when it does conflict we must obey God rather than man. Our greatest loyalty is to God. The Bible teaches us that men cannot divide their loyalties between two masters. "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." - Matthew 6:24.
Man's first allegiance should be to God. "And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." - Luke 4:8.  This truth of singular worship to the one true God must be central to all the preaching and teaching of the church. If members cannot be loyal to God they will not be loyal to God-given authority. When people learn to be loyal to God it will always be easy to obey those leaders that represent God given authority.
It may be  possible to be authoritarian enough to demand people's loyalty, but it is impossible to make people love God. Love and worship to God must come from the heart or it is as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. A preacher can threaten and demand loyalty, but that loyalty will be superficial. Real loyalty must be taught and earned. Love for God can be taught and experienced as a new believer learns to live by faith and experience the working of the Holy Spirit in his life. This will lead a believer from one step of faith to another step of faith.
Loyalty to the church, the pastor, or parents can be taught, but it must also be earned. When someone sacrifices on your behalf they earn your respect and that in turn develops loyalty. Loyalty develops when it is exemplified. People need to see loyalty in their leaders. Loyalty spawns loyalty. Your philosophy of ministry will have great bearing on how loyalty is developed in the church. Setting selfish goals and using the members to obtain them will not generate genuine loyalty, but setting goals to teach people and build them in Christ will eventually prove to be the biblical method of church building and establish true loyalty.
Sadly, the easiest way to generate service in a church is through a dictatorial leadership style. This style of ministry can be sustained for a time, but when the momentum is lost it will become difficult to sustain. A loyalty to Christ that develops a loyalty to the church and the pastor can be sustained indefinitely. When members develop a strong walk with the Lord and a committed belief in their church leaders much more will be accomplished over a long period of time.
Although loyalty must be developed over a long period of time it must be initiated early in the church plant. Your influence to develop spirituality in your people will immediately begin to have an impact and it will grow through the years.  A lengthy tenure of the pastor with the right philosophy will provide a wonderful setting to teach people virtues, such as loyalty. Start now to establish this important virtue.