Thursday, May 26, 2011

Agree to Agree

Recently I read about a church that needed to fill a position on its leadership board.  Rather than finding someone who was fully committed to the agreed-upon mission, vision, and values, some in the church thought it might be a good idea to include someone with differing opinions.  In a sense they were hoping to create a system of checks and balances so that the leadership team wasn’t tied up with one ministry strategy.

Can you see trouble coming?

That type of thinking may be appropriate in the political world, but it’s not Biblical and certainly doesn’t help in developing healthy leadership and ministry teams within the church.  The church mentioned above actually created an adversarial system in which differences were magnified instead of being downplayed.  When the structure is such that contrary people are deliberately added to the team and are free to speak their mind, then you have created an opportunity for disagreeable people to take control.  Many churches are governed by people who have overbearing personalities and intimidate others.  Further still, the smaller a church is the more power a negative person has.

Some people wonder why there is no harmony in their church.  It’s because the church is divided over issues that should not even be an issue at all!

I Corinthians 1:10 says, “I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.”

God is clear that harmony and unity are a top priority for the church.  And since we are supposed to follow after things that promote unity and peace, then our mission, leadership structure, and practices should promote that purpose.  Furthermore, disunity is a sin and has no place in a New Testament church or the Christian life.

In light of the passage above, as well as many others in the Bible, we have decided to follow this pattern at PCC.  When looking for prospective leaders, we look for those who are fully aligned with our current vision and leadership team rather than those who might offer dissenting viewpoints.  The wisdom of doing this becomes evident as our team operates together on a regular basis; a contrary person would fill the team with regular conflict.  Sure, it’s okay for our team members to challenge current thinking and suggest new approaches.  We do this often.  In fact, our meetings get very antimated sometimes as people speak passionatley about an issue.   But at the end of the day we agree to agree, have each other's back, and put the health and misison of the church ahead of any personal agenda.  We have been doing this for thirteen years at PCC and it's been an important factor in our church's growth and spiritual health.

Creating an open environment like this that allows members to confront one another on tough topics is actually a sign of heath.  It’s not acceptable, however, for unresolved disagreements to remain.

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