Disappointed with Your Church?

Dave is just back from a week-long conflicted church intervention, so he is busy with related post-conciliation work this week. But Kevin DeYoung has a classic three-part series on his blog addressing disappointment in the church that will hopefully fill in well for us this week:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

 Consider just a few summary lines from the posts and then do check them out!

 Part 1: How should church members respond when they feel unloved, unsupported, or like outsiders in their church? And how should church leaders respond when they are criticized for being unconcerned or the church is faulted for being unloving?

Part 2 (for leaders): Do we have some mechanism for personally knowing our sheep? Do we have some way of knowing when people are not showing up at church? Are we confronting cliquishness in our church? Are there easy, identifiable ways for the shy, the non go-getters, and the more culturally reserved to get involved and be known by others? Is it at least possible that we are more at fault than we think? Have we made promises we didn’t deliver on? There’s nothing more deadly than well-publicized, poorly executed good intentions. Are these critics generally critical?

Part 3 (for sheep): Did I ever ask for help? Have I overlooked opportunities to fit in and get to know people? Is it realistic for the leaders to give to every person in this church the kind of care I expect? If I really wanted to be loved and noticed why did I stop showing up? Am I willing to consider that I may be at fault more than I realize? Is it possible I’ve overlooked ways the body has cared for me because I was hoping a different part of the body would care for me? In general have I found this church and these leaders to be unloving and unsupportive?


About Tara Barthel

Tara Klena Barthel formerly served as the Director of the Institute for Christian Conciliation. As such, she oversaw hundreds of conciliation cases (including conflicted church interventions) through the international network of trained conciliators. Tara also provided oversight and leadership for all advanced conciliator training. Currently, she serves her family as a homemaker while occasionally accepting cases as a mediator, arbitrator, and conflicted church intervention team member. Currently enrolled at Reformed Theological Seminary and pursuing her Master's Degree in Religion, Tara consults with businesses and ministries on the legal risk management issues attendant to conflict; designs and presents custom training on biblical conflict resolution for churches, missions agencies, and parachurch organizations; speaks frequently at women’s conferences and retreats; and is currently working on many new writing projects. Tara is the author of the Living the Gospel in Relationships video series and co-author of Peacemaking Women—Biblical Hope for Resolving Conflict (Baker Books, 2005), and Redeeming Church Conflicts--Turning Crisis into Compassion and Care (Baker Books, 2012; second imprint Hendrickson Publishers 2016). Prior to moving to Billings, Montana to join the staff of Peacemaker Ministries, Tara worked as an attorney and business consultant in Chicago. Tara earned her law degree and M.B.A. from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and her B.A. in psychology from Augustana College (Illinois).
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