I put a post up at my personal blog today that I thought might have a little cross-appeal here at RedeemingChurchConflicts.com. It has to do with praying for our church leaders—but really, it has to do with so much more too.
The last paragraph reminded me of a story that one of my church leaders loves to tell. It had to do with a teen missions trip that he was helping to lead. A relatively new-to-our-church teenager started snipping and sniping about him to other teens, but she never got very far because each teenager had grown up in our church and had been taught the foundational biblical peacemaking principles from an early age; they knew how destructive gossip was; and they knew that our church leaders lead by submitting. They submit to God, to one another, to our denomination … they confess sin, they lead not with perfection but with humility. And it is not a strange thing for them to be confronted. They need confrontation just like all of us do.
So this teenager heard, over and over again:
“It sounds like you have a problem with Pastor So-And-So. You cannot continue to talk about him in this way to me. If you have a problem with him, you need to go to him and help him to understand how he offended you. If that sounds too scary, I will go with you and help you. But you cannot keep saying these things about him behind his back.”
And so, the girls went to the church leader and he was confronted and repentant (because, as he says, “She was right!”), and that was that.
Oh, friends. If only every single church member were as wise as these teenagers, as trained in peacemaking as these teenagers, as willing to submit and to confront their leaders as these teenagers. There would be a LOT less need for Christian mediators for conflicted churches if so.
Hope you enjoy the blog post—
A grateful sheep,