Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Devastation of Opposing Ideologies In Church Leadership

It is inevitable that in many churches, there will be tension among the members over two opposing ideologies concerning the ecclesiastic work and purpose of the church. And it would not be unusual for the church’s leadership to be divided also. When that happens, there is disunity, confusion, and conflict. On one side is a sincere, evangelistic desire to affect changes in the worship services and programs with for the purpose of being more relevant, attractive and acceptable to contemporary cultures and the unchurched community. On the other side is an attempt to preserve traditional and conservative methods associated with orthodox Christianity. We could argue about which ideology is wrong but one thing is certain; they cannot both be simultaneously right.

So I think it is important here to make some objective observations and statements. Ideas have consequences and, right or wrong, conflicting ideas, if acted on, will result in huge consequences. Churches must have leaders who can be trusted and who are in agreement. Whenever disunity over major, philosophical ideas exists among any church’s leadership, the climate is ideal for a church split. The leaders have the duty to identify where they believe God is leading and what He expects them to do. And they must all agree and lead in the same direction, with transparency. Then the people can follow.

Church Transitions teaches that a paradigm shift toward more pragmatic methods of church growth must be affected in secret and in contradiction to the church's sensibilities. That is dishonest and potentially destructive. Discerning members will be able to recognize ample, tangible evidence of the existence of those conflicting ideas with their resulting affects, schisms, and confusion in the church. For the sake of church unity, unless and until church leaders agrees that a change in direction and purpose is right and that God is leading them, members must insist that their leaders guard against any philosophical and functional changes.

That is not always easy to do. Those who would attempt change believe, wholeheartedly, in their mission and will continue to work their agenda. But they will not be able to operate by stealth forever. In time, many members will be able to identify the leaders by how they initiate, favor, support, encourage and actively engage in new practices and programs that may seem contrary to the old ways.

I am not interested in arguing here for personal preferences; I am concerned about the damage to the members when disunity in leadership results in confusion and disagreement. God is not the author of confusion. Leaders must debate among themselves, the opposing ideas in the light of Scripture and come to agreement. God’s will is discernable and they must determine it and lead the church with clarity and unity. If there remain any who will not submit in unity, they should be removed from the leadership for the protection of the church and the glory of God.

Dedicated to the Resistance

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