The Conflict of Transition

Last week I read an awesome post about the conflict that comes about in the churches that are slow to change. It is written by the Baptimergent blog (link HERE).

The opening remarks pulled me right in and I think speak to just about every church out there:

You may be aware that many of our beloved congregations are gripped with a sickness unto death. You might be a staff person in a church like that, or a lay leader. You may be sitting through meetings where one side demands you make changes now, and the other side wonders why “these people,” refuse to be assimilated into our way of doing church.

They make 5 main points about the realities of conflict within a local church (and they are great points).

  1. We cannot see congregational conflict as an intrusive distraction from the “true” mission of the church.
  2. Life can come from old structures. This requires an ability to move beyond critique to adaptation and utilization of what one has to work with, even when it is not ideal.
  3. It is vital for us younger clergy to make the distinction between what are actual & legitimate criticisms of us, and what are projections of past disappointments and present disillusionment.
  4. Everyone has been made in God’s image. Especially the people we have the hardest time loving.
  5. We must confess and repent from our sense of entitlement as newly emerging leaders and clergy.

As a young leader at a church these points hit home so hard. Most of this goes back to some of my thoughts on my post from Monday.

It is easy for young church leaders to whine and complain about the old guard running many churches. In fact this why you see “emerging churches” putting up everywhere.

Running from the conflict of transition is the worst thing. A new popular model for church will follow today’s and today’s leaders will be replaced by tomorrow’s. Yet, I think God calls us to work together in the midst of ongoing cultural change and transition.

Have you witnessed a healthy transition within a local church?

Do any of you young church leaders resonate with this?