A lot of areas in our lives can cause conflict and stress — our jobs, finances and families to name a few. The church is looked upon as a place to renew our spirits, worship our Lord and rejoice in the love of Christ. However, the church can be a place of serious conflicts. What causes these disputes?
Here are some common reasons for conflict in the church:
The corporate worship time changes. This may be met with outcry from people in the congregation who reactive negatively to changes in their personal schedules and comfort zones.
Members disagree about worship style. This situation often occurs when a new pastor comes into a church. Sensing that the congregation may be too comfortable, the pastor seeks to change things to bring his congregation out of the doldrums. This is often met with resistance and resentment.
The congregation has a lack of clarity about who makes decisions. Who has the final say? It may be who has the loudest voice! Conflict over decision-making authority can lead to a serious power struggle.
With the conflicts outlined here, what are we to do? “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4 ESV).
Simple advice is often the best advice. When we look outside ourselves to the interest of others, we are displaying the attitude we should show as Christians.
Proverbs 17:14 states, “Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.”
It takes self-control to avoid being drawn into a quarrel. We want to defend our position because we feel we have the correct answer. However, situations come up in our local churches where there is not a correct answer as much as there needs to be a change in attitude. Remember Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9).
Douglas Britt is the web architect for Light + Life.