By Christine Baskin
Church conflict is nothing new. The Apostle Paul writes from prison to each of the Churches in his charge, addressing conflicts that arise from every sin imaginable. Incest, adultery, idolatry, anger, hatred, strife, you name it.
Millennials bring many new advantages into the church today, additionally some churches have members who have been faithful to the same church their whole lives. We can glean from the wisdom of folks who stayed in the same body of Christ for Generations, as well as new believers we have never stepped foot in a church in their lives. There is much to learn, and so many areas of growth we can glean from together . As a former employee of a church, I believe the following principles help each member of the body work together to create the church Christ is coming back for.
#1 Do YOUR job.
Simple enough, but how often does our flesh rise up to tell people how they should do their jobs? If you focus on YOUR job, you won’t have to worry about what everyone else is doing, because your whole focus will be set on what God is doing in you right now! You will be more productive, and won’t even have the time to worry about what other people are doing.
#2 Don’t fall in love with anything.
The Word says that eventually everything we see is going pass away (Revelations 21:1). You can go visit a garbage dump, and find it is filled with what was once people’s dreams. Dream cars, dream clothes, dream furniture.
Likewise, if we get so in love with the way our Church is supposed to look, or the way a service is supposed to run, we are going to be disappointed when inevitable changes happen. In order for a Church to grow, there must be constant strides, and often the vision changes. God lays new dreams and new revelations on the hearts of the leaders, and change is coming whether we like it or not! Though the main principles of your Church stay the same, oftentimes change comes as a huge shock to people. They get stuck in their ways, and fight change of any kind. We can even get stuck on having a title, a front place parking spot, or place of authority.
I know because I WAS that person! I grew up with so many changes, and so much inconsistency, I never wanted anything to change because it felt uncertain and scary to me, much like my childhood. I’d be upset if the carpet was changed for heavens’s sake!! I was that person. Now that I’ve seen how change is healthy in a Church, and NO change whatsoever is unhealthy- like a think dust covering a fan, people are eventually gonna smell the stink and want some fresh air!
#3 I’m doing this for the Kingdom.
The work we do inside of a Church is not for us. I’m gonna say that again. The work we do inside the Church is NOT FOR US! Yes, God loves His people, but we are here not to get comfortable in a fancy building, with tasty coffee, and good lighting. All those things are great! But that’s NOT why we’re there. We are here to save the lost, feed the hungry (physically and spiritually) and to build up an army for God, and present her as His Bride. The other stuff…they’re tools we use to help people.
If you are trying to glorify yourself, take the credit, or make sure your name is on the end of every successful project; you are walking in a pride that is going to over-bloat your soul. And what comes after pride?…The fall! You trip over your own shoes, trying to be seen, heard, and credited. All the while, our mission and objective as believers should be to point people the the Lord, not what you are doing in your Church.
Every person who seeks the platform, or a coveted position is looking to be seen. In reality, it takes complete humility, and fear of God to be in a position of leadership. God says He judges those in leadership positions more strictly (James 3:1). Remember your work is not for you, or the Pastor, or the people even…It’s for God. Psalm 127:1 reminds us, “Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted.”
#4 Remember who your authority is.
God is your ultimate authority, but God also uses his people to shepherd and protect His people. When we as a Church have a healthy shepherd, a good, strong man or woman who seeks the heart of God, and follows the leading of the Holy Spirit, we know that we can trust him to do his job and protect you. How often have you questioned your Pastor about something, only to find out later he knew exactly what he was talking about! He has a responsibility to shepherd you, and is accountable to God for that responsibility. Romans 13:4a says, “For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good.”
#5 Remember you are on a team.
Have you ever walked into a church, or somebody’s home, and you can’t quite put your finger on it; but something’s off? That’s the spirit of strife! You know you’re encountering the spirit of strife when you feel like you could cut the tension in the room with a knife! The enemy knows there’s power in unity, so he uses weapons of warfare to divide and conquer. And I’ve seen him do this in the church, families, businesses, you name it. If there’s unity, satan sees it as a threat, and he will start to working on dividing. If you can come together when there’s disagreement and do what Paul instructs in Ephesians 4:2-6 you can break that spirit’s power!
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all,who is over all and through all, and in all.
I believe with humility, when we see ourselves as part of a team rather than an island, God can open the doors for the spirit of unity. You will seek the solutions to problems rather than focusing on the problems. You won’t criticize, but instead work to help your team be better! Pray for them, and intercede on their behalf. You will begin to see your team in the best light, their strengths, and purposes for their position. Psalm 149:4 proves true: The Lord lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground.
You may be in a situation at your workplace, or at Church with a person who is really stepping on your toes. They’re maybe even lying about you, gossiping behind your back, or trying to push you out of your position. That’s okay, because God sees their motives, the condition of their heart, and yours. He is a just God who will determine the best outcome for you, if you allow Him to lead you. Remember Ecclesiastes 7:8, The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
If you humble yourself, and let the King of Kings show Himself to be faithful through your situation, I believe you will see victory. He has you in this position for a time such as this, to help you be conformed to His image, and likeness. He is going to give you a double portion (Deuteronomy 21:17,1 Samuel 1:5, 2 Kings 2:9,Job 42:10) if you continue to press in, and not shy away from what He is doing in you right now!