Jump directly to the Content

Deciding Without Dividing

How to keep tough choices from fracturing the church.

It started with a simple request: "Will you come and moderate a special business meeting at our church?"

As presbyter for 30 churches in the San Francisco area, I agreed to assist. At the time I did not realize this would plunge me into a conflict that would nearly destroy a congregation.

A year after Bill was called to pastor this church, he wanted to change the by-laws to eliminate the periodic vote of confidence and establish an indefinite term of office for the pastor. He aggressively campaigned for a special congregational meeting to approve the idea.

Some in the congregation felt Bill's campaigning signified a shift from pastoral leadership to personal agenda. Rather than leading the church, they felt he was driving it. This polarized the congregation. By the date of the meeting, many members—tired of the politicized atmosphere—had already left the church.

Bill had called me because he thought that a neutral party would restrain the hostility and allow the meeting to proceed with ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

September
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
Leading Your Leaders
Leading Your Leaders
Ten effective ways to serve those you lead.
From the Magazine
Americans Forgot How Long Refugee Resettlement Takes
Americans Forgot How Long Refugee Resettlement Takes
One year into the biggest US refugee wave since the Vietnam War, Christians are trying to buy Afghan immigrants more time.
Editor's Pick
Pastors in Pain, Christ Can Redeem Your Suffering
Pastors in Pain, Christ Can Redeem Your Suffering
After many difficult years in ministry, I lost the strength to pastor. But Christ met me in weakness.
close