The reality is, every church experiences a measure of
conflict in some way or another. Churches are made up of people, and
anywhere people are involved in anything, there's the potential for
disagreement and conflict. Sadly, some congregations have experienced great
setbacks or splits due to such unresolved discord, while other churches have
learned how to head off or resolve such issues.
Church conflict frequently has to do with "power
struggles" within the congregation. That is, a contention for influence or
control. Sometimes this struggle for control comes from a self-serving lust
for power and prominence. At other times, perhaps well-intended persons
strive to gain influence to assert their own set of ideas and opinions. In
any case, power struggles are unethical and cause irreparable harm to the
body of Christ. God's Word tells us to pray for, respect and cooperate with
those authorized spiritual leaders of our church (Heb. 13:17, 1 Thes.
5:12-13). Insurrection is nowhere sanctioned in scripture.
Sometimes church conflict is caused by angry, troubled
people who redirect their personal unhappiness toward the church or its
leaders. Those who have discontent in their marriage, their jobs or any
number of problems, may lash out against other people — they may be
especially quick to find fault with the church, or make mountains out of
molehills. In addition, statistics say that one out of every five persons in
the average church struggles with emotional/mental problems. These persons
do not see reality the same way as others do. Their view of life is
distorted and twisted. Exaggerations and misunderstandings are a common
occurrence which can stir up turmoil and strife in the body.
One thing is dreadfully clear, those who become the
source of problems of this kind will only bring trouble upon themselves. "A
worthless person, a wicked man, walks with a perverse mouth; he winks with
his eyes, he shuffles his feet, he points with his fingers; perversity is in
his heart, he devises evil continually, he sows discord. Therefore his
calamity shall come suddenly; suddenly he shall be broken without remedy"
According to Apostle Paul, the general root for strife
and division is spiritual immaturity and carnality. "...for you are still
carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you
not carnal and behaving like mere men?" (1 Cor. 3:3). The cure for this is
to repent for the sin of strife, and seek to grow and mature in the Lord.