Contain the Spark Before It’s a Flame
Internal conflict will keep ministries from growing. Now, you probably don't have politics at your church, but at some churches, politics do exist. I think about every church has politics, whether you're a small church or whether you're at a big church. I met with a pastor and his wife at a really small church on Friday. They're doing great things, and their church is growing. But, man, they are struggling with some politics. There are just some people that are good people, but they've been at the church for 100 years and they really want the church to grow, but they don't want things to change for it to grow. So how do you wrestle through that one?
They had a consultant come in, and the consultant told them a couple weeks ago that if the 1950s come to visit your church they're going to feel right at home, so it's time to make some changes. It's like, "Wow, that's strong." But, you know what, I think hopefully the Lord will use it.
Sometimes you've got to hear it from an outside source.
We all know what elephants are in the room. Even beyond politics, conflicts that are not biblical can create problems that keep you from growth. There are some people that love conflict, and some people that run from it as far and as fast as they can. I've always, by nature, I haven't enjoyed conflict. I don't think most pastors enjoy conflict because pastors have a pastor's heart. They want to shepherd people and love people. They want everybody to get along. It's just the way pastors are. I think that's great, and that's one of the things that makes pastors so great. However, the flip side of the coin is a lot of times pastors can let issues go unresolved and hope that in time they'll just work themselves out.
They don't talk it out.
Sometimes they don't work themselves out. Those things just brew, and they create problems. I heard a long time ago that it's easier to contain a spark than a fire. If you and I can get in the habit of dealing with problems when they're sparks rather than when they grow weeks and months later into fires, it's so much easier. A lot of times those sparks can be handled with just a quick phone call if you hear of a problem. I do feel like I'm better at this at age 43 than I was at age 23 or 33. That is if I hear of something, it's a lot easier for me to just jump on the phone. "Hey, I heard something happened Sunday. Can we talk through this? Let's just talk through it." I've not at all mastered this, but I'm learning with these few gray hairs that are popping through.
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