7 Ways Satan Tries to Destroy a Church

church crowd

Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. 1 Peter 5:8

I’m not a pastor who is constantly looking for Satan behind everything that goes wrong. I concentrate my attention on Jesus and encouraging others to follow Jesus and not to focus on the defeated one. Yet, I’m fully aware that Satan loves to destroy…or attempt to destroy…a church. Obviously Satan is a limited being and God’s church is secure. The gates of hell shall never overcome what God started, but Satan certainly loves to disrupt what God’s church is doing.

Here are 7 way Satan tries to destroy a church:

Church conflict – Satan loves business meetings that get out of hand or when two church members have disagreements outside of church. He loves when church members argue about trivial things, such as colors of the carpet or big things, such as whether to add another service. Doesn’t matter to him. Show him a good argument potential and he’s willing to stir the fire.

Burnout – Satan loves to burn out a church volunteer, staff member, or pastor. If he can make them feel they are no longer needed, their work is not appreciated, or that they no longer have anything to offer…he feels he’s winning part of the battle.

Rumors – Satan is the stirrer of dissension. He likes to plant little seeds of a juicy story, about someone in the church or community…sometimes even the pastor or staff…and watch them quickly spread through a church congregation or community. The version, of course, usually grows to a larger portion than reality. Satan likes that too.

Busyness – Satan loves to distract church goers with a plethora of activity that produces little results in Kingdom-building.

Lies – Satan attempts to interject what he calls a “half-truth”; just a hint of false doctrine and then watch it disrupt or divide a body. Of course, we all know that half-truth is really just a cleaned up version of a bold face lie, but Satan is clever enough to disguise a lie in a way where false teachers gain entry and do damage before being discovered.

Scandal – Satan loves a good, juicy, gossipy news headline in the local paper. If it will split, divide or destroy a church body…even better. If it will destroy someone’s Kingdom calling or work…he’ll take that too.

Marriage and family disruptions – Satan loves to destroy any relationship, but he also goes after key leader’s marriages; even the pastor’s marriage. He likes to encourage prodigal children. He wants to cause families to fight within the church and fight with the church. Satan knows if he can destroy a home, he has a better chance of destroying a church.

Thankfully, there is good news:

You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 1 John 4:4

What other ways have you seen Satan try to destroy a church?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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44 thoughts on “7 Ways Satan Tries to Destroy a Church

  1. Satan uses the “commitment to God” offered by some members which is really commitment encircled around their agenda in disguise. What is at hand is likened to what Peter called the work of Satan in the hearts of Ananias and Sapphira.
    We need to ask ourselves if we are surrendered to God’s plan for His Church or our personal preferences?
    There were grave consequences (no pun intended) when members of the church had said they had committed to God, when all along that which they were committed to was what they were wanting for themselves.
    I don’t think it was a “money thing” that brought down God’s judgment upon Ananias and Sapphira, it was that they said they were committed to God with one hand and in reality were only committed to what benefited themselves with the other. It was simply selfish ambition disguised in the masquerade of mouth-service to God.
    There are many of us in God’s church who need to repent of mis-aimed commitment that benefits only ourselves and our preferences and resubmit our lives, desires, and preferences to what God wants from us, for us, and through us for His glory and His alone.

  2. Ron, I'll add this to your part on busyness. Aside from Kingdom-building is the issue of spiritual growth. In today's society, it is so easy for church attenders/members, to fill their schedules so full of good things that benefit the ministries of the church…yet forsake their personal growth journey with Christ. As church leaders we must constantly check in on those who serve, paid and volunteer, to ensure that they see observing some spiritual disciplines each day as a priority. Busy does not necessarily mean healthy. Thanks for the post, Ron.

  3. 4 ways to avoid discouragement
    1.)Do not be the reason of discouragement of your brother. (Luke 17:1-2)
    2.)No negative report (Numbers 13:17-23)
    3.)No negative words (Joshua 6:10)
    4.)No stopping short

  4. Have witnessed so many of these points in the three churches we watched breakdown. Could have written this list with you Ron. For us it was a real test of faith and at the same time a strengthing of our beliefs in God, not a man. Fortunately, we have maintained personal friendships from those churches and retained many lessons of the truths on which a church should be based; not the attraction and magnetism of a pastor. The experiences were gut wrenching at the times. Total dependence on the Trinity.

  5. !). Humility- the opposite is pride
    2). Meekness, the opposite is anger
    3). Temperance- the opposite is gluttony
    4). Chasity- the opposite is lust
    5). Brotherly Love- opposite is envy
    6). Liberality – opposite is covetousness
    7). Diligence – opposite is slothfulness
    Having the Mass said in the vernacular only brought out to the surface what "WE" have been NEGLECTING to do for generations.
    A lot of people have a split personality, the physical, and the spiritual.
    "WE" don't pray enough, devotions, spiritual read and live to the fullest ( try too ) 24/7- 365/366 days a year.
    Confessional use should be at least 2x's a month.
    The Mess we have in the Church, is bottom line, "OUR" fault for not being more rock solid-Christ Like literally.

  6. It doesnt take a rocket scientist to see that devil is everywhere in this world!. I see evil at work, i hear it on tv, and see it even in my own family..love isnt talked about, good things are ignored, everything is negative…FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT!! be the light in the darkness,use the great tools and power that jesus has given us…there is a battle in the spiritual realm, and lets bring jesus a victory!! God bless you all:)

  7. a terrific representation of the "7ways.." (though I think '6' woulda sufficed:-) was The Reformation, I pray for that day when all the separated brethren come together and return home to Christ's Apostolic consecration.
    I feel blessed to be allowed by Him to see this 'return', and know that 'thing below' is tearing it's hair out.
    We all just got to keep praying all we can, and beyond, never give up hope, we KNOW God loves us, b/c He keeps sending us hope, His hope in the babies He keeps sending us.

  8. How much is Satan really involved? I believe in many situations all he had to do was whisper a thought and a person just runs off with it to ruin the fellowship. There is also the issue of unforgiveness within a person or persons that can destroy the unity of a vibrant fellowship. I have also seen disgruntle members leaving one fellowship and bringing their hurt that affects the new fellowship. There are so many pitfalls for Church. You are so correct in you preamble that you 'concentrate my attention on Jesus and encouraging others to follow Jesus'.

  9. He also will allow a stronghol to sit deep within a leader until the church begins to make a difference and then he’ll attempt to bring that leader down. I was a part of an influential church for 15 years then the pastor started introducing new age concepts. In time he changed the whole direction and the church fel apart. Deception is another way Satan works to detroy churches.
    Twitter: Calvin__Brown

  10. You forgot the main cause of destruction. Check out what Satan, through Pope Paul VI, did in April of 1969 regarding the Perpetual Sacrifice of the Mass.

    • You are an educated Catholic…..it began prior to 1969..Vatican II opened the winds of change which inturn allowed Satan access…….Many Catholics know nothing about their faith prior to Vatican II…..Paul VI..JP II and Benedict are not true Popes……….what is truly scandalous is those people who consider themselves Catholics and yet have more concern about the public criticism than about the gross sins being criticized. Catholics need to Make sure that their moral and doctrinal priorities are straight. Unfortunately, many Catholics are members of sects that falsely try to make speaking the truth against their errant leaders a sin…..St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine, and many other Doctors of the Church clearly condemned this notion of silence in the face of corrupt doctrine and subservience to errant prelates who teach it.

      • I appreciate your comments, Michael, and I must add that the Apostasy of the Church opened the door of the coming Antichrist and his ruthless World Government.

  11. Good article — Read the SCREW TAPE LETTERS by C.S. LEWIS, and one will get an education on how the EVIL one works, and tries to destroy souls.

  12. Vatican II accomplished all Seven Ways and more to the Novus Ordo Establisment ..from the Vatican down….JP II and Benny and the Jets have completed the deed….

    • As a Catholic I am offended by your statement Michael. Name calling and division are tools of the devil. I appreciate the above article. Thank you.

      • Lorraine

        I think you should pray earnestly and seek out the True Catholic Church….We are in very difficult time…We as Catholics cannot be papal worshipers….We must adhere to the true teachings and not be misled…..Do you actually think Pope St Pius V or any other True Great Pope…would allow and teach fasle teachings? Thats is the problem today..Many Catholics have no clue about the True Faith…I pray for a Holy Pope and Holy Priests daily ..and the restoration of the Church….God Bless


      • Catholics are ignorant of the fact that they are under the obligation of the First Commandment of God to condemn publicly prelates who corrupt the Faith. In the past, Catholic Saints have used satire, and even ridicule and sarcasm, rhetorically to draw attention to false doctrine and corruption perpetrated by popes and bishops. If these Catholics were more familiar with Catholic teaching, they would know that the greatest Saints — Athanasius, Augustine, Basil the Great, Thomas More, Catherine of Siena, and so many more — have vilified bishops and even popes who would betray the Catholic Faith by teaching corrupt doctrine.

        • everybody is 'ignorant', and proud of it, when we nailed Him to the Cross, (and continue to do so whilst we point the finger of condemnation at everyone but ourselves), and ignore The catholic Church He established for the salvation of 'all'.
          Saint were not borne saints, none of us are, like the fine examples you mention that did what they did above n beyond the call of love.
          "False doctrine" is found mostly by those seeking "false doctrine"

  13. You've done a great job of pointing out that busyness and burnout are often tools that the enemy uses. I've seen this happen on more than one occasion. I think the true danger lies in that we don't recognize this as attack. It's just normal, busy life in our eyes – so it's easy to drift away unknowingly. We need to realize what's going on and snap back to our senses. And I think half of that battle is what you're doing here – pointing out that this is one of the ways Satan works.

  14. Santa? I love it! I’m dyslexic and still find humor in that one!
    I have to agree with what you say, many of things you mentioned you will find going on in the Church almost everyday. I honestly believe it is Satan (Santa LOL) doing his best to create the trouble you spoke of, I never really put it into that context before, though. Thanks.
    Twitter: bryankr

  15. I think you touched on this with busyness, but isolation is a good tactic of his too. Get the church focused on itself and into its own little bubble. Once that happens, it may not be destroyed, but it is contained.

  16. What do you think about a pastor and another leader of a church not disclosing to parents that a registered sex offender was worshiping with them? That kind of falls under scandal, I guess. How would a church recover from this betrayal of trust, particularly when the church did not have a child protection plan in place and the sex offender was allowed to mix into the crowd along with children. Children have no knowledge that this man is not "safe", but the pastor says it's gossip if you tell others about the sex offender.

        • No, I don't really know enough about the situation to take sides. My comment was general not specific. I would think if a registered sex offender was anywhere near children's ministry then the parents need to know. We are a large church, so we hire security guards and beef up all our security efforts in children's ministries because there is no way to guarantee safety for children from every danger. I would want to be the pastor, however, before I fully analyzed his decision. Side-lined quarterbacking is not my specialty.

      • Satan is incapable of love, only hatred and contempt of God ( Who is LOVE ) that Satan ( she, he, it ) seeks to destroy what God, Himself has created.