If we are going to list skills church leaders should possess, conflict management needs to be one of them. The realities of church life dictate the importance of this task as no church seems to be exempt of disagreements, misunderstandings, and the like. Face it, we’re a diverse group of people with different personalities, preferences, and backgrounds. Whether the issues are with you as a leader or among the Body, you need to deal with it before it becomes divisive. Why? It contradicts the way of love and hence, our testimony. — “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (Jn. 13:34-35)
Our church purpose provides the reason why conflict management is important for leaders.
When we line up our purposes as a church with what Jesus stated as the Greatest Commandments, we revolve what we do as a church around loving God and loving others. The key issue to remember when it comes to conflict in the church is that our greatest purpose must be two-fold. How are we going to fulfill our purpose to love God if there’s discord in the Church?
Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. (1 Jn. 4:20-21)
To prioritize God, we must be reconciled with one another.
Perhaps Jesus had this in mind when He spoke the words in Matthew 5:23-24. — “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” He had just finished saying that anger and passing judgment on others, not just murdering someone, has grave consequences (v. 20-22). “Therefore” (v. 23), he said, if you are going to worship God, get right with people “first.” — “For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.”
Reconciliation in conflict is important to the entire body and the cause of Christ.
The Apostle Paul pleaded with two women in the Church at Philippi to “to be of the same mind in the Lord” (Phil. 4:2). He encouraged others to also come alongside of them and help them become reconciled. There’s too much at stake for leaders in the Church to ignore conflict, even if it is among others in the Body. We will not fulfill our purpose to love God if division or contentions are allowed to fester in the Body. — “Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.”
For biblical ways of managing conflict go to: Leadership Skill: Conflict Management