A lot of people now days are in love with the hit show “The Big Bang Theory.” I must admit that I love the talented writing and acting on that show. As you know these scientists are Star Wars Fanatics. They know everything there is to know about those movies. Today I want to try a little bate and switch… that is from now on every time you hear about Star Wars your mind thinks Church Wars. I am doing this hoping that this little trickery of the ole grey matter will help us get involved in helping to heal the church. Dale Roach has written the following.
Churches are supposedly a haven to retreat from the world and the conflicts that our society introduces to us. Supposedly!
In fact, the church can often be a place of mortal combat between those who make up the fellowship. Growing up as a “preacher’s kid” introduced me to the reality that one does not escape conflict just by stepping through the doors of a church building. When you walk into a church you walk into the presence of varied personalities. Now it would be our hope that all those personalities in the church would be strong, mature Christians. This is not the case.
Most churches are made up of every type of person you can imagine. Conflict arises due to the fact that most congregations are not equipped to deal with the various levels of maturity within the congregation. To deal with conflict and address it before it gets too far out of hand you need to recognize the characteristics of those who make up your church.
All churches have some non-Christians within the congregation. They may attend faithfully and they may participate in all the affairs of the church but there has never been a time of “true turning to God” in their life. Just because their name is on the church role does not mean much if they are not giving their life to Christ. What is really dangerous is if a “non-Christian” is given a leadership role in the church and the justification is, “Well, he’s a good person, he attends well and he even gives money to the church.” If this is the case in your fellowship just get ready for conflict to explode somewhere down the line or if non-Christians gain the majority of leadership roles, spiritual death of the fellowship will take place.
The Baby Christian
Conflict shows up if you allow a baby Christian (a newborn) to take a leadership role that should only be given to a mature believer. No one would allow a baby to drive their car unless they have a strong desire for a severe accident. Babies are to be nurtured, fed and watched over carefully. It takes time to become a leader. Christians have to grow up to become healthy leaders!
The Adolescence/Teenage Christian
Not too long ago my wife came across a study that showed that the human brain does not completely mature until after the age of 21. We have raised a child. I believe every word of this study. Spiritual growth and maturity is much like human growth. It is a big mistake to place a new and growing Christian in significant leadership roles. Many times the ministry of a fellowship will be destroyed not by an evil heart but an immature mind. Spiritual maturity is essential for productive church growth. It can be observed that the reason some congregations do not flourish is due to the maturity or lack of maturity that some church leaders possess.
The Retired Christian
Some church members have thrown in the towel. “It is time for the young people of the church to take over.” is their theme. This is an extremely sad philosophy and theology. Conflict will evolve in any congregation in which the seasoned veterans of the Faith have retired. There is not a retirement schedule in the work of the Kingdom. When someone comes to the place in their Christian journey that they basically quit, it pushes them into the next characteristic – The Dead Christian. This characteristic speaks for itself. If a believer refuses to be used after a period of time a spiritual funeral will take place whether they admit it or not!
The Maturing/Adult Christian
These are those who bring a wealth of wisdom into any congregation. They are the ones who can help any fellowship avoid the blasts of conflict. These mature people do not desire to see conflict, however, when trouble arises they are determined to move the fellowship to the other side in a healthy fashion. A mature leader has learned how to deal with diversity. In fact, they recognize differing personalities and opinions as a wealth of possibilities and resources.
Where are you in your Christian journey?
Although I appreciate and agree in some part with his observation, I don’t think that it is quite that neat. I believe that all persons, no matter what stage they may find themselves, should be mentored to serve and given responsibilities according to their gifts and graces in order that they can grow their faith. Any of those people in any of those categories (top to bottom) are capable of firing the first shot in a church war… and keeping the war going. After all we have this thing called the human condition. I believe that we must grow a congregation where all of those people are cared for and nurtured, where they can mess up and be forgiven, where the leadership is more about the love and grace of Jesus Christ than we are about impressing those who will move us up the ladder. The church must grow to become the Koininia – the Communion of Christ – the body of Christ… where our first thought is to forgive, nurture, and accept anyone and everyone… to offer love and allow others to express love. Our task is to keep working on love!!!
You will notice at the bottom of the header (above) are a list of my books. I have added the last one so you can order The Grieving Heart in paperback form. All the other books are eBooks. I hope that you will take the opportunity to read these and I hope they will help to bring you comfort and grace in time of need.
Please also take the time to leave a good review with Amazon. After today, these books have been published in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Japan.