Drama Free Church

businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-frontThe church has so much potential.  It was started by Jesus to change the world.  It will grow and it will last forever.  For more exciting things about the church, click here.

With all its great potential, we limit the church’s effectiveness by the drama we bring in.

Here are 4 things that, in my opinion, would help church become more effective.  For a Drama Free Church lets:

  1. Handle Conflict Correctly

The church should be the best in the world at handling conflict. We were taught by Jesus exactly how to do so.

15  “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. 16  But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. 17  If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.  Matthew 18:

Did you get that?  There are 3 clear steps Jesus gives us:

  1. Go PRIVATELY to the person who offended you. If they listen its WIN for everyone!

Yet we often side step. We talk about other people rather than to people.

We then cause more trouble by gossiping, backbiting and tearing others down which only makes our conflict worse as others are now involved!  There are always three sides to any conflict: your side, their side and the truth.  When you talk about someone to someone else, it’s not only wrong but is only ½ of the story.

2. Secondly from this passage, if they don’t listen initially then take someone else and go back to them. Since conflict resolution is so important, our staff and leaders are glad to sit down with parties in conflict and help them resolve it.  It’s the biblical thing to do.

3 It’s rare that our church leadership has meeting with a trouble maker who will not listen, so 99% of the time if we will follow the first two steps outlined by Jesus everything works out.

From personal experience in dealing with church conflict I would also add:

  1. Be courageous. Don’t be a coward.  Go to the person that offended you.  Don’t down play it, or hope it goes away.  I don’t like conflict any more than the next person.  I’ve had my share of cowardly experiences.   I’ve learned from mentors and my own failures to “Run to conflict not from it.”
  2. Be clear. There are times, when I’ll ask someone who is complaining about someone else. “Did you talk to them?” “Yes” is the answer. But what really happened was a very unclear conversation spoken around the real issue.  The offended person spoke in some kind of code, hoping the other person would pick it up.  They didn’t.  Be clear.
  3. Be honest. If you’re hurt, own it. If you’re offended, be honest.  Talking to others about a problem with someone else is wrong.  When someone comes to you to apologize for something they said or did because it got back to them.  Don’t say, “its no big deal.”  Be honest.

If we just handled conflict courageously, clearly and honestly we would be so much better.  It’s so important, we teach this in our membership class.

When we handle conflict in a healthy way, our church is healthy.

And a healthy church is a church that can help other people get healthy.

  1. Steer Clear of Politics

God is not a Republican or a Democrat, Conservative or Liberal, God is God.

Some act as if a political party is the savior of our nation.  No! Jesus is our savior.  Others act as if the savior of our nation is a political candidate.  Sorry, our savior is Jesus.   Some people want our church to be more vocal about politics.  We have our marching orders from Jesus and they do not include politics.

If our church becomes a mouthpiece for a political party, we cease to be the church.

The church is the bride of Christ and we will not prostitute her by involving ourselves in politics.

Why?  Here’s a tongue and cheek definition of “Politics.”  Poli means “many.”  Ticks are “blood sucking creatures.”  Why would we waste our time talking about a bunch of blood suckers?

Our job is to share the Gospel, not to change the government!

Jesus and Paul spend surprisingly little time trying to influence the government.   Jesus completely rejected the idea of becoming the government when people asked him to become their political leader.

Jesus spent about zero time asking the government to change during his ministry. In fact, when he appeared before the Roman governor and was asked about being a king, he replied that his Kingdom is not of this world.

The Apostle Paul appeared before government officials regularly. Not once did he ask them to change the laws of the land.

He did, however, invite government officials to have Jesus personally change them.

Paul constantly suffered at the hands of the authorities, ultimately dying under their power, but like Jesus, didn’t look to them for change.

Rather than asking the government to release him from prison, he wrote letters from prison talking about the love of Jesus Christ.

Instead of looking to the government for help, Paul and Jesus looked to God.

None of us in the West are suffering nearly as radically as Jesus and Paul suffered at the hands of a government. In fact, in the US, our government protects our freedom to assemble and even disagree with others. Plus, it gives us tax breaks for donations.

We honestly don’t have it that hard.  Why are we that set on trying to change policies or laws?  Politics is downstream in its ability to truly change anything.  As a church we are upstream: we change hearts with Jesus which changes lives, which changes families, which changes history and legacies!

What can we do for the government and it’s leaders?

2  Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 3  This is good and pleases God our Savior, 4  who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4

  1. Stop Condemning Some Sins While Ignoring Others

As people that have come to know Jesus for a while, we can become comfortable with all the grace we have received.  If we are not careful we may think we have “arrived” and begin to focus on the moral failings of others while ignoring our own.  Since our mission is to KNOW Christ and GROW to be like Him, that means we have not arrived but will continue to be grateful for what Christ has done for us and continue to GROW by serving others, praying for others and giving generously.

Some pretend that the worst sin you can commit is sexual, or drunkenness or something else we now have victory over.  Don’t get me wrong—these have serious implications.

But so does gossip, divisiveness, gluttony and laziness—sins we routinely ignore. Mostly because we commit them.

I think that just as many congregations have been ruined by gossip, divisiveness and laziness as have been stained by sexual sin or drunkenness.  But you’d never know it given the way we talk about sin.

I’m all for surrendering our sexuality or heavy drinking habits to Christ. But I’m also all for submitting our tendency to gossip, overeat, our divisiveness and our laziness to Jesus and dealing with that seriously.

If we humbly confessed our sins first, others would be more likely to come to terms with their sins.

22  But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ.  Galatians 3:21-22

 We are all sinners who are saved by grace by believing in Jesus Christ.   The first part of our mission is to “KNOW Christ” and this how.

So here’s an idea. Instead of pretending someone else’s sin is worse than your sin, confess your sin.

You’ll be in such a better place if you do that. And so will they.  You might actually be able to help them.   We will “GROW to be like Christ” as we focus on “growing me and serving others.”

  1. Stop Judging Outsiders

We in the modern church have largely ignored Paul’s injunction to stop judging non-Christians.

12 It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning.   13  God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”   1 Corinthians 5:12-13

Even Jesus said he didn’t come into the world to judge it, but to save it.

I completely get the urge to judge our neighbors and even the world. Things bother me too.

But I have to refrain. Our faith in Christ demands it.

The outside world has a judge. And it’s not you.

He’s fairer than you. He’s more just than you, more perfect than you and far more accurate.

In the meantime, do your best to help reconcile your brothers and sister in the world to their heavenly father through Christ.

At The Ridge we will focus on growing people inside our church.  Holding them accountable and helping them take next steps. We will pray for and invite those outside our church.

If our job is the reach the world… judgment is a terrible evangelism strategy.

People don’t line up to be judged.   They will line up to be loved.

So love people, especially the people with whom you disagree.  Pray for them. That’s what we all really need.  Minister to them and invite them to church.

So let’s all agree to handle conflict correctly. Look to God not politics or government for true change. Confess my sins, not worry about others sins, love, pray and invite for those outside of the church.  That will reduce the drama of the church and will move the mission of our church forward.

Darrell

www.RidgeFellowship.com

About dkoop

Lead Pastor of The Ridge Fellowship: Leander, Jarrell & Taylor, TX
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