How to Navigate Division in the Church.
Without a doubt, we are living in very dividing times. Left-wing versus right-wing, inclusion against segregation and, more recently, compliant civilians over anti-maskers. This division is rampant in the community, and since our churches are our communities, it is in the church and it is forcing our congregations into separate camps.
Division is not a new problem to the big “C” church, but it is also not something to be ignored. If left unchecked, it will rob our focus from the main commission and leave us divided into smaller camps, fighting smaller battles.
As church leaders, how do we navigate the division and close the gap between the camps to unify our people, remain on mission and fight the bigger battles? Here are some tactics.
1. OVER COMMUNICATE VISION
In a regular climate, vision leaks. In times of crisis, vision vanishes. People enter survival mode throwing caution to the wind in the hope of gaining stability.
The meaning of di-vision is “two visions.”
As we lead through a crisis, the communication of vision needs to be on overdrive. It should be evident in our day-to-day conversations, seeped into our programming and embossed in our projections from the pulpit. Regular meetings don’t happen without intentionally focused moments on our purpose, values and direction.
Vision is the lifeblood of any organization and in times of division, we must fight to keep “the main thing,” the main thing.
2. REITERATE PERSONAL AND CORPORATE IDENTITY.
There is a drive to fight for a cause bigger than themselves within every individual. In times of uncertainty, individuals lose sight of purpose and easily slip into a victim role.
However, as believers, the scriptures reveal our position to be quite the opposite.
As church leaders, even as uncertain as we may feel, we need to remind our people that we were, as Pastor Leon Fontaine puts it, “Born for the storm.”
The church was made to withstand political power shifts, economic climate crashes, and persecution of personal beliefs. Our God is not surprised by the world’s current state of affairs and with that in mind, we need to remain in constant remembrance that we are here for this time, for these people and this purpose.
3. MORE ONE ON ONE TIME.
Every army needs a strategist and every soldier needs a general.
Whether your church is massive or modest, the people still need to be pastored.
Whether virtual or in person, the people still need to be pastored.
And as a leader, whether you lead over a church or a small group, YOU still need to be ministered to.
Don’t underestimate the power of a personal text or card of encouragement to one of your attendees. It could make all the difference.
Leaders, you were born for the storm but don’t kid yourself. Just because you were born for it doesn’t mean you don’t need to grow in the ability to withstand it. Now more than ever, we need to lean into God and walk with our people.
Schedule the necessary time to grow with God. A greater intention on our devotion time will give us insight into what God is doing and a greater focus on individuals will give us a greater perspective on how to lead them through their personal crisis.
Camps will continue to form as the next cultural wave comes.
Times for the Church aren’t expected to get easier. Don’t give way to one ditch or the other.
Let’s keep our people focused and unified on the one thing we agree on.
That God’s church is alive, this is our time and we are the people to push it forward.
- Add a short culture based teaching to every team meeting for the next 3 months. At the end of 3 months reevaluate where your team is and what do they need to hear next.
- Evaluate how your spiritual devotional time is. Too little? Too inconsistent? Too distracted? Too boring? Determine one thing you can start right now to take your time with God to the next level.
- Determine three people you want to invest a bit extra time and energy in this month. Make the extra effort to catch them doing things right, responding to their posts on social, having a conversation with or sending an encouraging card to.