Divisiveness in the Congregation

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Joshua Rhodes, Oct 30, 2009.

  1. Joshua Rhodes

    Joshua Rhodes
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    How do others handle divisiveness inside the congregation? In our church there seems to be a small group (10-15 vocal folks) who are dissenting on worship, fellowship, and anything that is different than the "way it's always been." We are currently without a senior pastor, and have been for almost a year. I didn't want to place this in the Music Ministry forum (even though that's where I serve) because I believe this is bigger than just the music ministry. Any thoughts?
     
  2. Johnv

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    I think the biggest issue is the empty pastor's chair. I'm willing to wager that much of the strife will cease if the position is filled with a solid leader. Of course, there's always the possibility that a whole strife will arise, but hey, one thing at a time.
     
  3. drfuss

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    I noticed in the OP that the music may be a part of the reason for the strife.

    Music is a basic part of the problem in many churches today. A part of the reason people come to church is to worship the Lord. For those musically inclined, music is a big part of their worship in church.

    If the music has gone contemporary from traditional, those musically inclined who appreciate traditional music, will not be comfortable worshipping with contemporary music. What some don't realize is that contemporary music with the jungle beat, is irritating to some people.

    If people are unhappy with the conduct of the church service, other little things will start to bother them.

    This may be the root of the problem.
     
  4. Joshua Rhodes

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    I don't believe it's the music. We do a blend of hymns, and more contemporary songs, and while this is a complaint of some who wish things were "piano/organ" only, I believe it's a symptom and not the real issue.
     
  5. Peggy

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    Is there a way to have a church wide meeting to deal with the issues confronting the church? Maybe a compromise can be worked out. Sometimes people just want to know that their concerns are being heard.
     
  6. tinytim

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    Wow the OP is a tough one.. Don't we all wish there was a cookie cutter answer that fit every church.. I sure do!... I'll be watching this thread with curiosity...
     
  7. sag38

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    The jungle beat comment will not win any friends and is in itself divisive.

    Anyway, it's probably not so much a musical issue as much as it is about control. I would bet that your church could do everything this little group wanted (to the "t") and they would still find more and more hoops for everyone else to jump through. Ultimately this is a spiritual matter and about who owns the church. Pray brother that they will learn that the church belongs to Jesus and not to them.
     
  8. Tom Butler

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    Joshua, can you fill in a couple more blanks?

    For instance, are some of the dissenters deacons? If they are, then the problem tends to be magnified, in my mind.

    If deacons are not involved, can they present a united front? Sometimes dissenters will try to peel off a deacon for their cause. If they get nowhere with the deacons, sometimes this can have a quieting effect. It also tags them as chronic complainers in the eyes of the congregation.

    I've found that in the large majority of cases, the problem has little to do with theology. It has to do with power. I promised myself I would never be part of a power struggle just to get my way, but I would tear a church up over aberrant theology.

    Unless your deacons are willing to present a united front, or directly address this problem, it won't go away.
     
  9. Aaron

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    You have said in the past that music is a preference issue. Going from that premise, you're simply attempting to force a change upon a group in which a preference has already been established.

    The funny thing is that you think you're being more holy than the others with your preference when, by your own assertions, it's merely a clash of the wills and preferences of men.

    My advice is quit causing trouble.
     
  10. abcgrad94

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    Sounds more like a power struggle than a theological issue to me. One thing I've noticed is that when a church is without a pastor (or another strong leader) for a while, there are sometimes a certain few who try to step up to assume control. These are the ones who grumble anyway, but when given the chance to control something, it goes to their heads and they can't handle it.

    If the struggle is between church members and the music minister, they should follow his leading in preference unless what he's doing is unscriptural. In that case, it would be up to the deacons to remedy the situation.
     
  11. rbell

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    Isn't it funny how you assumed a whole bunch in your answer that was never stated? You're operating on facts you don't even have, and you're doing so mighty dogmatically.
     
  12. annsni

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    I think the answer is to find the strong, Godly men and women in your congregation and start praying over the church. Spend time daily in prayer individually and get together weekly (a Saturday night or early on Sunday morning before church) in the church building itself. Satan is using the "empty house" syndrome to attack you and it's NOT good for anyone involved.

    Once this is being done, it's time to address the dissenters as a unified front. You're not looking to change anything right now - just keep things as status quo unless it's unhealthy or unGodly. You don't know what the new pastor has for ideas and you don't want to change something only to have him change something again which would cause even more dissent. But ask those who are fighting to pray for the church that God would have His will with it rather than anyone's individual feelings. Keep the focus on God and I think that will help a lot. It certainly won't fix things because, honestly, we're dealing with sinful people all the time but to show a unified front no matter what someone says will help to decrease the amount of arguing, IMO.
     
  13. Tom Bryant

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    It will be very difficult to deal with the issue apart from a senior pastor. And most pastors will look at a church that is so divided and run screaming from the building.

    May I suggest that you start gathering people together in a big group and pray. Don't do small groups because you will give already discontented people a chance to spread their discontent.

    I also have a few questions:
    1. Have the changes that people are discontented about been made since the last senior pastor left?

    2. Did the previous pastor leave because of the beginnings of discontent among some power group? How long was he there?

    3. How has the pastor search been going? How close are you to calling one? There's an old saying in Baptist life that "people are down on what they are not up on."

    Praying for you.
     
  14. Revmitchell

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    +1.....................
     
  15. sag38

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    Aaron, have you ever served a church as a pastor?
     
  16. annsni

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    You do realize the "trouble makers" are a small group and not the majority of the church, right?

    I think you're reading your own likes and dislikes into this, Aaron.
     
  17. Jkdbuck76

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    Why is the biggest gripe the music? Answer: because there is no senior pastor, hence nobody can gripe about his sermons! :laugh: :laugh:

    OP, I want you to know that God has HIS hand on the man who will be your next Pastor! Lack of unity = lack of being controlled by the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, there will always be that crowd of folks who want to tear everything down. And the worst thing about that crowd is that instead of leaving and finding some other congregation to ruin, they picked yours and that is where they will stay!

    God has His hand on that next Pastor but in the meantime, your church has to decide or at least find out what exactly it is (contemporary? traditional? blended? blanded?).

    My thought on music style is this: does the music lift of the Lord Jesus Christ and present Him as the only Way to salvation? If not, then it is worthless whether it be some hymn or contemporary song.
     
  18. HankD

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    Scripture is the answer.

    Why is this happening?

    Because we forget the legacy left for us by Christ and His apostles til He returns:

    1 John
    3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
    4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
    5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
    6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
    7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
    8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
    9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
    10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.​

    Because we have also forgotten the lesson from Matthew 13 concerning the wheat and the tares.

    Christ who transformed water into wine can transform weeds into wheat.

    HankD
     
  19. Aaron

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    I haven't assumed anything.

    That a preference has been established is evident by the OP, "In our church there seems to be a small group (10-15 vocal folks) who are dissenting on worship, fellowship, and anything that is different than the 'way it's always been.'"

    I know Rhodes' view on music well by past interactions, as I clearly stated in my post.

    I'm certainly NOT assuming that we're hearing an accurate representation of the "dissenters'" grievances.

    My advice is the same.

    The advice given by another in this thread that the congregation must submit to the personal preferences of the leaders is absolutely diabolical.
     
  20. abcgrad94

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    Scriptural proof? The Bible instucts us to obey those that have the rule over us. Those in authority at the church are watching out for our souls. Our personal preference is not a reason to cause division in the church. If that were the case, every member would be pulling a different way over what music is sung, what material is used for Sunday School, etc. The leadership is there to lead. Personal preferences are not Biblical preferences most of the time.
     

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