If I were the devil I'd distract the body of Christ with more and more meetings. I'd get Christians so involved with their churches they didn't have time to get to know their lost neighbors and reach them with the Good News of Jesus Christ. I'd have them join committees, start small groups and become church leaders, leaving them no time to accomplish the actual mission Jesus left for them.
If I were the devil I'd get church leaders to minimize the importance of intercessory prayer. I'd have them use prayer as a kind of holy water they sprinkle on things rather than a bathtub they soak everything in. I'd encourage them to use prayer to quickly kick off a staff meeting before moving on to the meatier stuff of strategy and visioneering. I'd do my best to get them to believe that everything is already pre-determined by God anyway and that God doesn't use our prayers to change actual situations.
If I were the devil I'd get pastors to avoid giving the Gospel every week during their sermons. I'd whisper to them that, while the Gospel is good, it's too elementary for believers to have to hear week in and week out. I'd challenge them to "go deeper" and leave the Gospel for the twice a year "Friendship Sundays." I'd convince them that everybody in their churches was already saved anyway.
If I were the devil I'd get evangelists to preach a gospel that sounds like the gospel but is really no gospel at all. I'd get them to push the lost to just "say a prayer" whether they truly understand the gospel or not. I'd have them challenge their unregenerate audiences to commit fully, try harder and surrender all. I'd get them to preach anything and everything but grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone for the salvation of their souls.
If I were the devil I'd get youth leaders to keep it light, make it fun and hold off on getting serious about evangelism until their teenagers were ready. I'd make youth ministry programming a stready parade of the latest curriculums and camps instead of building a youth ministry that is designed for a Gospel advancing mission.
If I were the devil I'd get teenagers to do lots of good things. I'd get them to build houses for the needy, give food to the poor and reach out to the hurting. I'd encourage them to do all of these things in the name of Jesus but without ever actually sharing the message of Jesus to those they are serving. I'd convince these teenagers that preaching the gospel was action and service alone.
If I were the devil I'd push for the status quo in youth ministry. I'd give a hearty "Amen!" to the "we've always done it that way" mentality. I'd avoid doing anything radical that would bring the bad element into the actual church building or bring the good wholesome teens of the church into the hurting, hellish parts of the city. I'd make youth ministry a safe place for safe kids and speak to them about safe things.
But I'm not the devil. Satan is. And he doesn't need any help. Sadly, he is doing a very good job at being very bad. Don't you think?
If you were the devil what would you do?
*Re-written from my blog five years or so ago. After writing much of this article I realized that Paul Harvey wrote his own version of "If I were the Devil" long before I wrote this one. Shout out to Mr. Harvey. Good day!