Often many times within a church family such as Grace with over thirty five hundred partners there are bound to be conflict. Any environment whether large or small we are all people, with personalities that some time come together in a manner that does not always show the church family in the best of light. I find people look at livers as we are designed to be different and we are in a way.
We as believers are called to be different, yet we are people. This transformation comes not from our doing but through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. This paper will outline a situation at which such an instance was brought to light. The manner in which the situation was handled by the pastoral staff, and finally, the outcome from the situation as well as the change that took place due to the situation. In order to understand the situation we must talk about the background behind the situation. A few years back Grace Covenant Church had a pastor by the name of Karri.
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Pastor Karri and my mother got along quite well. As far back as I could remember Pastor Karri and my mother hit it off like sisters. Pastor Karri daughter would come over to my mother’s house unannounced and stay for the day Just to sit and talk. Quite often Pastor Carrie’s daughter would find herself at my mother’s house to take a load off in between classes. Pastor Carrie’s daughter Jollied was going to college located in Statistical located about five minutes away from the campus. Jollied would stay hours at a time after she was done with school. I found this to be quite out of the ordinary.
Sometime my wife Jessica and I would go up there to see my mom Alba and stay for some time. We would arrive there to find Jollied already there; she would end up staying as long as I did. I remember one time she stayed there until the sun went down. I often asked myself “why would she stay here this long”? It would seem that Jollied did not want to go home. My mother kept her promise never to bring up situations that were talked about, and I know it was the hardest thing for my mother to do because she loves to talk. My mother is a talker. She can keep a person on the phone until you fall asleep and she will not even know you fell asleep.
One day my mother did break the bond of silence and confided in me on a particular situation. My mother began to unfold the situation that struck her in the heart and she did not know how to handle it. I told her that I would never speak of it, so I will honor my promise to her. Needless to say the situation came out within the pastoral staff and LEAD team in the church. It was brought to our attention due to the pastoral staffs need for us to come together in prayer. The conflict that arose was a preference in the way things should be handled within her family by a pastor within the Grace Covenant family.
A situation had broken out with Pastor’s Carrie’s daughter. The denominational hierarchy as well as the pastoral staff wanted the situation to be handled in a manner that would not bring to light a situation that could be looked upon by the church partners and the denomination as a pastor that did not know how to maintain control of their family. Here is where I have the problem with the situation and the handling of it within the denomination. People fall short all the mime, that is what missing the mark is.
When people in the church family miss the mark those people are not shunned or set aside as outcasts? Those people choose to confess the sin that brought them down, repent of their sin, are forgiven because God is a merciful God and they are led on a Journey which leads them back to the fold of God’s arms. My question is very simple, given this circumstance. If the daughter of a pastor was the causing the situation would it not be in the best interest of the church to bring all parties in the situation in and try to come too place where leaning can happen in the pastor’s family as well as the church family?
The pastoral staff was being told by the denominational board to handle the situation one way, and the pastoral staff its self wanted to handle the situation anther way. Here is where the conflict resided for about six months within the church. Pastor Peripheral and the church staff wanted the healing process to be held within the family before it became worse. The church had come together the way a family should in times of trouble. There was conflict between the denomination and the pastoral staff, coupled gather by the conflict between the pastor Carrie’s feelings and her daughter.
This tension and conflict brought much division into the church for some months. While the pressure continued to escalate within pastor Carrie’s family, as well as the church for the situation, there were grumblings of tension being felt with other staff and volunteers. As I look back at the situation I saw things happening that should not have been happening. John 17:1 1 states Jesus prayed that all believers would be one. Jesus did not want conflict to arise within His people. I could not understand why the research was pushing so hard to have resolve in this issue, in the manner they choose.
The back and forth went on for a few and finally Pastor Karri put in her resignation. I firmly believe this was not the right way to handle what had gone yet, this is what took place. I think what really bothered me about the whole situation looking at it in hindsight is all the secrecy that took place. I guess I would have understood if the conflict was interpersonal, that is one thing. This conflict seemed to rest along the sides of organizational views. Could I have less than all the information I believe this could be true.
I also look back at the way the pastoral staff handled the issue with Pastor Derrick and I see the staffs willingness to invite the body of Grace Covenant into the sorrow that had taken place. On the other hand Grace Covenant pastoral staff went in front of the church one Sunday and told the body effective immediately Pastor Karri will no longer be on staff at Grace. The reason that was provided was a “difference of views”. I do not know about you but that was not enough for me. Especially that pastor Karri was overseeing the entire woman’s spieling group.
This did not settle easy with me nor did it settle with many partners either. As with any conflict within the body of Christ, many women left the church over the decision that took place. My mother and many others stayed due to a trust which developed over time for the pastoral staff to conduct themselves in a manner that promotes God’s glory not their own. I can see the growth throughout the pastoral staff from one incident to the next. In regards to Pastor Carrie’s incident the staff was very tight lipped about what the reasons for her leaving the church.
The pastoral Taft noticed the disruption this kind of activity had upon the cohesiveness of the body at Grace. This type of discord and unknown within the body would spread like a poison within the body. The pastoral staff did not want this at all. We fast forward months later and the situation with Pastor Derrick arises and not to have a lingering cloud over the body at Grace the truth in all its ugliness was brought out into the open. There is growth and one would say conflict prevention within the body through the two examples. Personally I cannot think of a way to prevent conflict.
As I mentioned in my peeing statement. We are all people with different personalities. I do however believe the way to which we conduct ourselves in the midst of conflict is a direct reflection of Christ in our lives. Our example of this is our Lord and Savior Jesus. When the soldiers came to take Him away in the garden of Statement He did not put up a fight. Even as Peter cut Off soldier’s ear, Jesus told him “those who live by the sword die by the sword”. At the center of conflict Jesus remained in peace. He is our example of living amongst personalities that are different from ours yet living in as one.