Posted by: morgan1965 | June 27, 2010

Resolving Conflict in the Church

The Church is the Body of Christ; however, the people in the Church sometimes get involved in some kind of conflict. Conflicts arise between lay people and/or between pastor and a lay person(s). Pause for a moment and consider whether you have ever had a conflict with a member of your church. Have you ever been involved in a conflict with your pastor? Unfortunately, there are far too many conflicts that arise in local churches, and many times these conflicts go unresolved.

Conflicts among Christians are not new; rather, they are historical. The Gospel of Matthew has this to say about conflict: “If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” [18:15-17]

This passage of scripture offers a process for solving a perceived conflict between two people. It requires that a person strive to enter into Christian conversation with the person with whom there is a conflict. If the first initiative fails, then one invites other persons to participate in the process of conflict resolution. The ultimate arena of conflict resolution is the church, the Body of Christ.

The Body of Christ is the faith community. The point is that conflicts in the church can and should be resolved in community by the community of faith. The members of a community of faith can resolve conflicts by placing all potential conflicts on the altar of prayer.

Consider these basic steps when you are facing a conflict in your church: First, go to God in prayer. Second, invite the other person to be in prayer with you about the matter of conflict. Third, sit down with the other member and seek to resolve the matter. Fourth, if necessary, invite a few other members to assist in the process of conflict resolution. Fifth, the ultimate appeal is to the church, the community of faith.

Are we serious about Jesus’ command to love our neighbors as we love ourselves? I wonder.

Think about it!

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