Having gone through a major church split long ago and because I’m currently reading the account of one pastor’s horrible fallout from making changes in his church, a question has arisen in my mind. What is it about changes in local churches that seem to sometimes bring out the worst in us?
Larry Osborne hits the nail on the head in Sticky Teams when he writes, “Folks who never balance their checkbook at home [suddenly] feel compelled to review and critique every dime in the budget [with unnecessary suspicion]. And business leaders who easily blow of criticism in the workplace panic over the slightest negative comment overheard in the hallways.”
There is something about the business meeting, something about the elder, deacon or board meeting that sometimes brings out the very worst in people. Whereas other environments generally do not produce such behavior, the environment of the local church is sadly and all too often littered with attitudes and actions that would embarrass most of us if exhibited in public. Why is this? I’ve thought a lot about this and wanted to share some thoughts here in hopes that you all can help enlighten me and add to the conversation. Here are my top 6 reasons why I think change causes so much trouble in local churches:
1. There are unbelievers in the church
2. There are immature believers in the church
3. The church has an arch-enemy, Satan
4. We feel that the church is the only place we have a voice and a real chance for impact
5. We mistake change for an automatic loss of the Gospel
6. We mistake tradition for dry, dead and empty formalism
I’ll leave it at that for now. What do you think?