Today we are going to talk about the preverbal elephant in the room, and that is what to do when there is conflict in the church, or even conflict in your own life. How do you respond when people in your church do not get along. Perhaps one of the saddest thing a pastor ever witnesses is when people are not getting along in his church. I’ve seen it and I know many others have to. Conflict in the church drives people away from the church and sadly, their perception of God is shaped by what they witnessed in a church. I remember someone coming to me once and his words broke my heart. He said, Pastor, I can no longer attend here with all this tension. It led me to pray for renewal and work hard for it. In this podcast interview we talk to Pastor Eric Anderson who is open
and very candid about how he managed through, and survived conflict. Eric even speaks about the nature of conflict, the value of conflict and even how it made him a better shepherd to a hurting group of people. Eric lives deep in the cold flat lands of MN and pastors LifeSpring Church, a reformed church belonging to the Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals. He is married to Miriam for over 11 years and both he and Mariam have eight children; five girls and three boys ranging from 19 years old to a 1 year old. You will be blessed listening to this wonderful story of how to thrive where there is conflict.
Here are some of the resources Eric referred to:
Antagonists In The Church click here!
I also highly recommend Thriving Through Church Conflict click here!
“Confessing sins to each other makes for a healthier more humble church.” – Prof. Russell Huizing
We hear the story too often. A well loved pastor, seemingly well put together, a model of righteousness, is outed as a sinner. He’s committed moral failure, or admitted to a sexual or alcohol addiction. And everyone is shocked. We discover that for years he has kept this secret to himself, and not even those close to him, his wife or elders knew of his pain. Imagine if early on, when the first moments of his struggle began and before they took over his life he had taken the opportunity to share with someone else, and confessed his sin to them and received forgiveness and encouragement. READ MORE
Are pastors allowed to struggle? It seems too often that those in ministry are expected to keep their struggles to themselves. Carly Simons’ well known song, Haven’t Got Time for The Pain could easily have been written for pastors who struggle to hide their pain behind the busyness of ministry and the expectations of others. READ MORE
“When is it time to move on?” Is a question many pastors ask. Even if you are a not a pastor, it’s critical you know your pastor is probably asking this question. Your role is important to his health. Encouraging him and praying for him provides the life and fuel for an affective ministry. Letting him know he is appreciated makes him feel valued, but you can do more than that. Tell him what you like about his ministry. Share with him how God is using him in your life. Nothing is more vital than a pastor feeling loved and supported, but, there are times he’s going ask this question of God and certainly of himself, how long do I stay? Should I Stay, or Should I Go, is a great title for a rock song, but for right now, it’s an important subject for us to cover in this podcast. Pastor Steve Kerhoulas readily admits that he stayed two years too long in a recent ministry. How does one reconcile that realization with a solid belief in the sovereignty of God and his management of our lives. Whether you are a pastor wondering if it’s time to move on, or asking that question about a business or a move to a new place, you will be challenged and refreshed as you listen to this conversation.
What happens when someone close to you, who you committed to serve with, and together dedicated your life to follow Jesus, is no longer with you. Being a pastor, or being in any kind of ministry vocation is different than any other job, in that, it really takes both you and your spouse to do it well. This is why we often say that when a pastor is called into ministry, his wife is called too. A little personal disclosure here… When I was dating Elaine she knew I had committed my life to serve Jesus overseas, and she understood that a commitment to me would also mean a commitment to that. So do you know what she did? She broke up with me. Pretty mean, huh? But I am glad she did, because she needed to make sure this was a journey she could also travel. So two weeks later she concluded, “I know I can live with that guy, but I also know I can go with him anywhere and do what he does.” We got back together, and have been serving together for 34 years.
I’m excited to sit down today with Mark and Viviane Shady who will share how the call of God on their lives to serve him was not only recaptured in loss, but also strengthened as the gospel pushed its way past the grief and dominated their lives again. Mark and Viviane have been married for 14 years and together have five children. They currently serve as International Workers with the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and I was blessed to meet with them just one day before their return. They share with us what happens to that call in loss, and in grief.
All of us, whether in ministry or not, will find ourselves at times running out of steam. Fatigue, discouragement, lack of fruit and criticism can take any faithful servant and turn him into an ineffective slave to self-doubt and even quiet rebellion. We all need at times that preverbal kick in the pants to be reminded of who we are and who has called us to live the gospel of Jesus in a world that so desperately needs hope. Through a form of discipleship called Coaching, Dr. Reginald (Reggie) Screen loves seeing pastors fall out of their malaise and rush back in the field with vigor and passion. In this podcast we address how the gospel doesn’t just form us, but drive us to keep serving no matter how difficult it gets. Again, we want to bring courage and persecutive when serving gets hard.
Reginald Screen shares his burden with the following statement:
My take is the culture has changed and pastors don’t know it. Most pastors are not missional. Don’t understand emotional intelligence, cultural intelligence and don’t understand their own “personal gospel. Mainly, my big issue is most pastors don’t understand what Jesus is measuring: disciples. There’s not a consensus of a definition of disciple, and the way that Jesus made a disciple has been for the most part lost. So, I train towards these realities and Coach towards theirs realities. It really is a big deal!
Henry Nouwen uses the phrase wounded healer to describe those who are more effectively able to serve out of their hurt. He writes how the great illusion of leadership is to think that man can be led out of the desert by someone who has never been there! READ MORE
What happens when the gospel impacts a hurting marriage? Restoration happens.
Two people, committed to each other for over 28 years, now face the real prospect of shattered dreams. Yet, especially for Cheryl, the wedding vows meant something. And for Phil, the gospel, this sheer determination to make sure this life is lived for Jesus, at home and outside of the home, brought hope, and invited Jesus to come and bring the broken pieces back together again.
The impulse is to say, no way! Your ministry can only be as strong as the pastor, or as strong as his family. Yet, over and over we see pastors struggle at home while leading seemingly healthy ministries.
Phil and Cheryl Hagar peel away the layers to reveal how at the core, the pastor will not get away by ignoring his family for a good ministry.
It will catch up with him as it did for Phil. Yet, God intervened and used the tragedy of a son’s diagnosis of cancer to bring about a revival in both in the home and in ministry.
In this inaugural podcast, I discuss how every believer is called to live for the Great Commission and the Gospel, but with the understanding that God places certain people to lead this charge. We call them pastors, elders, church leaders and many other titles. READ MORE