Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Church is Not a Democracy

Generally, most church conflict stems from distrust. When this happens, the congregation doesn't trust that the lead pastor is hearing from God and focusing on living out his/her calling so that the vision and mission of the local church can advance.

When the backbiting, rumbling, manipulation and criticism starts, that is typically when things can really go south. If leaders feel like their wings have been clipped or that they do not have the trust of the people they lead, they will start to accomodate the demands of the people. Mikey throws a hissy fit when there's no altar call, so the pastor tries to accomodate and has an altar call. Laura gets bored during the messages so she wants 8 songs and a 15 minute message. Frank usually maxes his desire out for singing at 3 songs and would really rather hear a 35 minute message from the Word of God. John only wants exegetical messages verse by verse through a book of the Bible. Martha only wants topical messages that have to do with marriages, parenting, and financial management. If I'm the leader, the gossip, hearsay, manipulation and criticism can be a tipping point for me. If the people don't trust me, it will likely be that I will soon not trust the people and I will start trying to accomodate their preferences rather than seeking God out.

Listen. Church is not a democracy. When the people of God have had the opportunity to decide what they wanted, they convinced Aaron to make a golden calf for them to worship, they decided to oust God as their king in place of a human king named Saul, and they decided it'd be better if Barabbas got released and Jesus got crucified.

You are not in charge of your church. God is. And you either trust that He has placed the right leadership/staff or you don't. If you don't, then you probably need to find a new church, because the negativity, controlling, and slander is sabotaging what God wants to do in that church through that leadership.

You want your church to flourish? Honor the people God has put in authority over you. (Honor both publicly and privately!) Trust that God is leading them and fight for them to have time to seek out His face. You want to drive your church to negativity and division? Keep grumbling and pretending that the church is mostly about you.

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