Anytime people gather together, there’s always a chance that conflict will happen. Christian or not, people disagree, hurt each other, and take offense at the things others do. Conflict creates toxic environments that keep people from the purpose God intended for them. Conflict comes with community. Since churches thrive in community, we must become experts in dealing with conflict or the enemy will use it to take us off course.
Conflict gets its legs from three main sources.
1) Miscommunication. We don’t always say everything we should say. We don’t say it often enough for people to remember. People don’t hear the things we say the way we meant them. We make information too hard to find. Church leaders must find ways to communicate clearly and consistently. We must become better listeners so that we hear what the other person is saying. People are busier than ever and there is more noise in their lives which drowns out the message. We need to use modern communication methods to share our messages, which allows churches to connect with their leaders and each other to accomplish His purpose.
2) Acceptance of Gossip. Gossip may be the most accepted sin in the church. We share things we shouldn’t with people who don’t need to know. We smile to each other’s faces while we bite each other’s backs. We disguise our prayer gossips as prayer requests and venting sessions, but little prayer takes place and the “venting” rarely releases the tension. Christians must protect each other’s reputations by refusing to share or listen to gossip. We need to lean into this value and keep ourselves from tearing each other down.
3) Failure to Forgive. We are all forgiven. It may be the biggest thing we have in common with each other. We should be the most forgiving people on the planet. He’s forgiven us all for so much, and as good stewards of His abundant mercy, we should be quick to give it out. People are going to hurt us. They will let us down. We need to expect it instead of being surprised by it. We don’t have to accept a culture of failure, but we must remember that even when we strive and value excellence we will all fall short.