THE DECISION’S been made, you’ve clearly not been consulted, but now you’re being ‘informed’ (i.e. told what you’re to do — support the church through change). The die is cast. The stage is set. Nothing will change the course chosen. Is this situation familiar to you?
No matter how many are for the change occurring, it feels like the leadership is stubbornly forging ahead despite the probability of casualties and collateral damage. Like in a lottery competition, the ‘judges’ have had their say and no correspondence will be entered into.
You’re left in a precarious situation. What do you think and how do you respond?
I’ve experienced this first-hand. In fact, I’ve been in situations where I felt on all sides of the conundrum of change simultaneously, seeing its impact yet its potential at one and the same time. And, I have to say this, I’ve seen what it does to a church when there wasn’t full support for change. And unfortunately — not that I saw it at the time, mind you — but I’ve been part of opposition. Usually because of my concern over the treatment of people. At times like this I’ve seen the enemy have more of his way than he ever ought to, and the enemy ought never have his way when it concerns the church. Yet, who is the church made up of? Humans, broken, wounded, sordid, prideful, ambitious, and easy-to-hurt humanity.
Anyone has the capacity to be used by the enemy — all sides of any argument — and the mark of the enemy in terms of church is division.
What if your church stood united or fell divided based solely on your call — on your decision? Because that is the reality. Stand united and Jesus’ church thrives. Engage in sedition and at least a portion of the church falls. Its name is discredited. Its potential is limited. It falls far short of Christ’s glory.
When we choose to support our church through change we don’t agree with, we trust God at a higher level than what we were previously capable. We trust God enough to journey maturely through ongoing dissonance. And we can only do that when we love His church more than our own or others’ agendas.
Love God and we love His church. Love the church and we love God. The two are synonymous.
We’re allowed to disagree with our church leadership provided they have our support, and, provided there is the maturity in leadership to accept and even embrace disagreement, all should be well.
Church leadership should spare space for diversity of viewpoint, but the membership ought also to stand faithfully behind its leaders. Leaders who lead humbly are easier to trust.
Church leadership deserves and requires our trust. But church leadership serves the people of God as well as God.
It does help if church leadership understand how powerless it can feel to be on the receiving end of change.