The true measure of a church and its leaders is how they handle adversity. Sometimes adversity comes from outside the church, while other times it comes from inside the church. This week’s Ministry Briefing looks at a few ways that churches can overcome significant challenges.
While most churches are eager to welcome new visitors, pastor Carey Nieuwhof notes that some visitors can cause more than enough problems. Church shoppers who hop from one church to another seeking to have their needs met can place unreasonable demands on pastors and stir up dissent.
Rather than seeking to grow, serve, and learn, church shoppers seek to reshape the church into their own image or the image of a former church. Of course everyone who has ever moved to a new city needs to “shop” for a church. However, joining a church should result in positive changes for the attendees, rather than battles over ways to make the church more suitable for them.
Another internal source of conflict in the church can be the leaders themselves. When a pastor mismanages funds or bullies staff members, accountability, repentance, and restoration are all necessary in order for that pastor to minister effectively in the future. Every church should have a restoration plan and leaders who can hold a fallen leader accountable during the restoration process. However, more importantly, hoping for the best in the case of a fallen leader doesn’t mean the church shouldn’t be cautious and take protective measures to ensure the prevention of another incident.
Most churches would rather not spend their time dealing with internal fights. Rather, they want to serve their communities. How should a church handle a situation when a member of the community attacks the church itself?
Two Presbyterian churches and one Mormon congregation were targeted by two teens who broke into their buildings and badly vandalized their offices and sound boards. Leaders of the various churches met with the teens to discuss their struggles with anger and to seek ways to work toward restoration. In the end, these churches successfully took a tragedy and turned it into an opportunity to serve others.
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