- “I never thought I’d fine myself in a situation like this. I was totally taken off guard!”
- “How in the world could a difference of opinion between two church leaders become an issue that would split a church? I can’t believe this is happening to me!”
- “What was I supposed to do? What did they expect me to do? I tried as hard as I could to make everyone happy, but I just couldn’t do it!”
- “When I agreed to be the pastor of this church, I thought everyone was going to deal with our issues in a way that would honor God. This is the most confusing, disappointing situation I’ve ever seen. Not in my wildest nightmares would I have ever thought Christians would behave like this.”
These, and other thoughts much like these, are statements made by pastors in moments of honest despair. Or, they’re thoughts that they won’t make out loud for fear of appearing weak or inept. Pastors and/or staff ministers who are facing the divisive bitterness of controversy are often at their whit’s end to deal with the problem. Whether it’s two people, two or more families, or two or more factions in the church body, conflict tends to result in hurt feelings, alienated members, and ministers who are hurt and at wit’s end.
Wouldn’t it be better to be prepared to head off a conflict before it gets out of hand? When a controversy arises, what would it be like if you aren’t prepared to find resolution in the way that honors our Lord?
- Like Father, like son
- Conflict arises in every church at some time or another
- Be prepared to be proactive, not reactive
- You and your church can be prepared to deal with controversy in the same fashion that God deals with us.
How can a church be prepared deal with controversy? Dr. Kenneth Newberger has developed a plan for preparation that follows Biblical principles. His desire, repeated throughout his book, Hope In the Face of Conflict, references a “like Father, like son” perspective. In other words, as the Father deal with us, so should we deal with each other in reconciling differences.
I have joined Dr. Newberger in being available to work with churches to prepare themselves to be equipped to deal with conflict as soon as it arises, rather than being blindsided by controversy. Not being able to cope because there has been no preparation is like not knowing to dial 911 when your house is on fire. No excuse!
Talking with pastors of many years experience, they consistently say that over time, just about every church will experience some type of controversy. Hopefully, differences will be short-lived, easy to resolve and they won’t have a serious impact on the church as a whole. But what if it isn’t any of those things and it gets out of hand?
You, your ministering staff and your body of believers can be ready to cope by following God’s example of reconciling with us . . . “like Father, like son” . . . if you prepare now. Contact Dr. Newberger or me and we’ll let you know how we can be of assistance in preparing you to head off conflicts and keep your church family a unified family. Click on Dr. Newberger’s highlighted name or call me at 225-773-8883 now.