Every church has people who could be defined as encouragers, discouragers, and those who are easily deceived.
These are the people who are trusting, supportive, and optimistic. They are peacemakers and mediate conflict. Encourages bring health to the church and are a blessing because they want the church to succeed and the gospel to prevail.
These are the people who are pessimistic, critical, challenging, unsupportive, and contentious. They are wounded by bitterness from past hurts and often project their conflict onto others in the church. You will often find them at the center of conflict. They are unhealthy individuals who don’t want to get well. Their sickness is often contagious – affecting others in the church – because they are more interested in their own agenda rather than seeing the gospel prevail. In the Bible such people are often referred to as “sowers of discord among the brethren.”
Sadly, in most churches the discouragers are the most vocal, most distracting, and the least likely to contribute to the growth and health of the body of Christ. They are like gangrene in the body of Christ (2 Timothy 2:17). Practically speaking, this means that even a few discouragers working together can become infectious to a local church. Sometimes such discouragers will pair up together (like a double barreled shotgun) as Jannes & Jambres who opposed Moses, Sanballat & Tobiah who opposed Nehemiah, and Hymenaues & Alexander who opposed Paul.
The easily deceived are those who are followers by nature, are new in Christ, or are not fully grounded in the Word of God; therefore they are the most likely to be deceived and misled by the discouragers. They often find themselves caught in the middle of conflict and will cave-in to the loudest and meanest voice (which is usually the discouragers). They are also easily corrupted by the books they read, the people they listen to, and the teachers they look up to.
HOW TO STAY POSTIVE & LEAD WELL
First, the lead pastor and other senior leaders in the church must be encouragers themselves and positive, hopefully influencing others.
Second, discouragers and troublemakers must not be allowed into leadership or into any ministry position. Period. If they are in office they must be rebuked, and, if they don’t repent, removed (Titus 3:10-11). Troublemakers are often tolerated far too long; the longer their bad attitude is tolerated the more toxic the church environment becomes.
Third, those who are easily deceived and misled need to be told that they are, in fact, being misled and that they need to take responsibility for their naivety. Sadly, the easily deceived are often nominated and elected into ministry positions because they are nice people who are likeable… but because they are amiable they are easily influenced by negative types.