We continue our thoughts on conflict in the church. We’ve talked about conflict with staff, or the main board, and now we approach the issue of conflict with individuals in the pews.
First of all, it happens. Of course it does. Perhaps these thoughts will help. Expect it. But do not make it bigger than it is, or think your church is unique. Wherever there is a group of more than one, there will be some disagreement.
Make little of little disagreements. It does not matter if a few did not like a song the church sang or a sermon thought you gave. Relax. Don’t dwell on the negatives and feel blue. Let it be.
When there is a divisive spirit or questioning of motives or a mean conspiracy, deal with it immediately and in person. Perhaps start with the introduction: “I am eager to see the peace and unity of our Lord remain strong in our church, and I think you have an offense against me. Could we talk and seek unity?”
Try not to worry about the comment: “Some people are saying that . . .” Often people use that ploy to attempt to reinforce their own opinions.
Be a peacemaker when you hear about real conflict between others in the church. In a church of size (200 or more), allow the staff member responsible for the age or ministry area where the conflict exists to handle it.
Know the steps of Matthew 18:15-17 for extreme cases.