There is an endless list of things that can hinder church revitalization. One of the most common is church conflict. While it is true that every church will experience differing opinions, disagreements, and the occasional spat between members, how those situations are handled will either help or hurt the church’s overall health.
When it is not dealt with correctly, it can have a devastating effect on church revitalization efforts. There are three main reasons.
It Distracts From Your Mission
In church conflict, members who are involved are focused on proving they are right, working to get their way, and convincing others of their point of view. When this is the mindset of members, the church’s mission is nowhere in sight. You cannot pursue your church’s mission and pursue your selfish desires at the same time. One is always sacrificed.
A focus on the church’s missions promotes unity. It is what rallies people together. Conflict within a church distracts people away from that focus.
It Hinders Spiritual Growth
I have never seen a church battling in the trenches of church conflict where spiritual growth has also been taking place. The activities that lead to spiritual growth and the activities that are usually the focus in church conflict cannot co-exist. When spiritual growth is not taking place in the life of the congregation, the church will not experience revitalization.
Members are not concerned with spiritual growth when a church is entrenched in conflict. They do not want to study the Bible, pray, or serve together. Cliques form, battle lines are drawn, and each side digs in. This is not the receipt for spiritual health or church revitalization.
It Destroys Church Culture
Church culture is not often discussed, but it is real. You have probably walked into a church and felt the energy and excitement there. It’s contagious. You can tell that people want to be there, enjoy being there, and want others to be there.
You have also probably been in a church that had the opposite environment. There was no life, energy, or expectation of God working. People were there either out of duty or habit. Either way, it was not an environment that was welcoming to visitors.
In these two examples of culture, it’s obvious which one is more conducive to church conflict. When conflict arises in a church, the culture and environment are destroyed bit by bit.
A church will always have different viewpoints, opinions, and preferences. However, how those are handled will determine, to a certain degree, how effective church revitalization efforts will be. Our next post will outline steps to overcome a church conflict.