Our youngest son plays lacrosse. Watching a recent game, I was confused by his movements on the field. His strategy was one I didn't recognize and, since I'm a relative newcomer to the game, I knew he would have to explain it to me. After the game I asked, "What were those moves you were making out there when your opponent was guarding you?"
He replied rather sheepishly, "Oh, I was just trying to avoid letting that big guy crush me!"
I laughed with him and said, "Good strategy. It's always a good idea to know how to keep from getting crushed!"
I have had to develop a similar strategy in ministry. Yes, sometimes you have to stand and fight when the cause is right. But there are times when the best way to deal with conflict is to avoid it. As my father used to tell me when I was a boy trying to get along with kids in the schoolyard, "The easiest fights to win are the ones you stay out of." As logical as that may seem, it isn't always easy to stay out of skirmishes in ministry.1