Thursday, December 16, 2010

Church Conflict! Why?

Have you heard this small joke?

A man was stranded on the proverbial deserted Pacific Island for years. Finally one day a boat came into view and the man frantically waved to draw the skipper's attention. The boat draws near the island and a sailor got out and greets the stranded man.

After a while the sailor asked the man, "What are those three huts you have here?"

Man: "Well, that's my house there."

Sailor: "What's that next hut?" asks the sailor.

Man: "I built that hut to be my church."

Sailor: "What about the other hut?"

Man: "Oh, that's where I used to go to church, but I got mad at the preacher and all those hypocrites left."

Did you laugh? I did. Why is that story funny? Maybe because it is too true.

For the past several decades I have consulted with a coached many people with positions of leadership in Christian organizations. Some have been Clergy who graduated from seminary and others are Elders, business people and volunteers. All in all, few are experts in experiencing conflict but most are unprepared to deal effectively to manage the conflict.

Over the years I have seen a lot of Pastors and Leaders who are burned out, traumatized and discouraged by the amount of toxic relationships at church. Why is there so much conflict in God's Families? Which of the following do you think is the most frequent or important cause of toxic conflict?

1. Because the Pastors and Leaders offend the people.
2. The Leaders do not know how to relate well with people.
3. The leaders are ignorant of the Bible.
4. The personalities of the Leaders are bad.
5. The sins of the Leaders.
6. The sins of the members and lay board.
7. The devil makes us do it.
8. The people are dysfunctional.
9. The members are spoiled and refuse to follow God's word.
10. Add your own.....

Next: Church fights!

1 comment:

thom said...

Conflict in our churches is neither new nor unexplainable in this man's opinion. I believe that the underlying motivation for conflict amongst congregates, church affiliations, religious organizations and people of faith is the same. It is our need to be right. We are steadfast in being right about our belief, our convictions and our destiny. After-all, what if we are wrong? Eternity hangs in the balance, at least that's what our doctrine would have us believe. We fight because we have to be right. We fight not with others but within the very core of our being. We then act out our internal battles with those individuals who would expose our doubts. Just as God brings the best out of the very worst, He allows our in-fighting to create discovery. When conflict arises, so does the need to justify a position. In order to justify our position, we must do the research and make our case. The real issue is not why do we fight, the real issue is why don't we acknowledge when we discover something different? Why don't we humble ourselves to the fact that we don't have all of the answers? We don't have to be right to claim our eternal rewards. We just have to be ready!