Have you ever walked away from an encounter and wished you could have added more? It’s like a light comes on and you see things more clearly. Well, that’s what happened this past Saturday after the revive ’11 conference. In the breakout session for pastors’ wives, one of the women asked me a question concerning what should be done when there is conflict within the leadership of a church. I encouraged her to remember that whenever conflict is evident in the church we must remind ourselves that the enemy is the author of confusion. We must pray for discernment, and if necessary, practice the process outlined in Matthew 18.
On the drive home from Indianapolis, I thought of a tremendous resource that might be a great help to their church and many others dealing with this: Making Peace: A Guide to Overcoming Church Conflict by Jim Van Yperen. In Making Peace, Jim identifies four different types of responders in every conflict: passive, evasive, defensive, and aggressive. He challenges those who are passive to understand that peacekeeping is not peacemaking. He then explains why evasive responders can’t run and hide. For the defensive ones, he tells them why the conflict is not about them. And lastly, he challenges aggressive responders to leave vindication to the Lord.
Jim shares that conflict:
- is a broken relationship
- is a spiritual collision–it’s spiritual warfare
- is inevitable
- is necessary
- is an opportunity
In his words, “God’s purpose for conflict is to accomplish redemption. Every conflict is an opportunity to work out our salvation according to God’s redemptive plan. Our conflicts are God-purposed and always for good.”
Jim closes with this:
Scripture reminds us that sin makes discipline necessary, and discipline makes restoration possible. Indeed, discipline is a sign of God’s love for us as His children–God’s loving, healing remedy for those who wander away from the light. A church that disciplines in love for gentle restoration will be a church that makes peace.
Yep, that’s what I wish I had included. I sure hope that precious pastor’s wife keeps up with the True Woman blog, and that this information will help to better inform her prayers during this difficult time, and possibly provide assistance and support for the church.
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).