A church I know formed when a group split from another church. Yet, in the last 25 years they’ve spawned a church because of another split, fired numerous pastors and turned over the membership regularly. All with devastating results.
People come to church to find peace and love in an otherwise often impersonal and crazy world.
So when a group leaves to start a competing church it feels like a civil war splitting friends and families.
What’s the antidote though? How can we stay true to what we believe and still not split a church we feel is heading the wrong direction?
The answers are complex and we’ll try to bring some light over the next several posts.
Paul writes, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4: 3 NIV)
First, we need to focus on maintaining unity.
Why? Because if we believe there’s one Spirit indwelling us as believers then how can there be disunity?
But aren’t there times when we need to hold a church accountable to the truth?
Sure. But I’ve observed most church splits have little to do with spiritual truth and mostly with denominational doctrine, worship styles, preaching preferences, leadership competition, etc. In other words peripheral issues.
So we need to make sure which we’re focusing on. Maybe read the Bible so we know the core truths?
Then second focus on peace. Where do I have inner peace? Do I have peace about pursuing this issue or am I stressed out about it?
And will it promote peace or stir up strife?
Frankly, I think it’s ok to leave a church over style preferences. All of us are wired up differently. That’s why TV broadcasters offer hundreds of channels.
But one caution. If you leave go peacefully, quietly and by yourself.
In the next few posts we’ll look at the core issues we need to agree on.
In the meantime remember this.
We’re not called to agree on everything but we are called to live in peace.
When have you seen this followed or unfortunately not?