Ministry Under Friendly Fire – Christians in Conflict

by Jim on March 6, 2013


Ministry Encouragement Podcast – Episode #36 – 3-6-13

Rev. Jim W. Hollis, Executive Director of Proactive Ministries

Sponsor of this Podcast: Proactive Ministries (770) 803-9988

Welcome to Episode #36 of the Ministry Encouragement Podcast!  I’m Jim Hollis and it is a joy to have you join us today for this time of sharing and discovery in ministry.  In last week’s Episode #35, I discussed the topic of conflict in local Christian churches.

We had so many people write and call after last week’s Episode to share their struggles about living through broken relationships and conflicts in churches where they are involved that I was inspired to “go deeper” into this topic this week.  This topic almost always hits a spiritual nerve as we are nearly all passionate in avoiding conflicts!

In this Episode (#36) I will be going into more detail and share some actual ministry accounts of conflict that has taken place in churches across America.  It is often not the “direct hits” that this kind of friendly fire brings between persons or opposing groups that are in contention, but the “fallout” and “collateral damage” that many innocent youth, children and young Christians receive hurt through that is most deadly.

In 2013, we are seeing at least three generations of youth and young adults who have fallen out with traditional churches with the accusation, “The leaders of those churches have a major disconnect in what they SAY they profess and what they LIVE.  We’re gone to look for authenticity elsewhere!”

So today we will hit the topic of:

Ministry Under Friendly Fire – Christians in Conflict

head on, with as much reality and examination of truth as we can.  This is a much needed area of ministry in so many thousands of churches today.  Take a look at some of the statistics of George Barna, the Pastoral Leadership Institute and other groups who study trends and you may be shocked:

  • 70% of present Pastors would quit the ministry today if they could have another way to make an equal income and not be overwhelmed in debt
  • 3 out of 5 new persons entering the clergy will not be in it within 5 years
  • Clergy marriages are in crisis at an all time high
  • Mainline churches by the hundreds are not reaching new persons on professions of faith and are in serious decline – both numerically and spiritually

And there’s much more where these facts came from.  Many of the realities above are directly a result of heavy conflict in congregations across various denominations and in non-denominational, American churches today.  It is our prayer that this will truly turn around.  But it will not happen without some major changes to take place.

      What are a few Truths to doing effective, transformational ministry under friendly fire? 

  • Many negative and critical “shooters” are actually good people, victimized by deep anger
  • Conflicts that could often be resolved early are ignored and swept under the rug to develop into major anger and pain generators over time due to leaders practicing conflict avoidance at great cost
  • There are effective solutions to this kind of hurt, anger and pain in any Christian fellowship
  • Serious reconciliation, forgiveness and peace will not come without major, passionate prayer ministry
  • Human relationships can go beyond the possibility of restoration where those involved think they can accomplish it in their own power and limited efforts.  It requires surrender to self and Divine Intervention.

I share some stories today of victories over the agony of conflict and division in a Christian communities of faith.  We are ALL sinners in need of God’s Grace and Forgiveness and one of the most profound contributions any one of us can make to bring peace is to pray with all our heart a very simple prayer:

“God, would you make me more loveable through Your Spirit?”

       After listening to this Episode, I encourage each of you to share it with friends, relatives, business associates and pastors you know who are the walking wounded from conflicts.  In some churches we work with in this area of ministry, we see retired Pastors and their spouses who cannot even listen to teaching and discussion on the topic without having to get up and leave from becoming physically sick.  It raises in them such dark and powerful memories of pain and hurt that they have not been able to release to Christ at the foot of the Cross.  My prayer is that thousands of Christians can be SET FREE from this burden.

      Lives, relationships, souls and the future of congregations hang in the balance!  Your sharing this with someone you know who is in this kind of storm can be amazing hope for them.  My prayer is that many will be encouraged from this work and come to believe that in Jesus Christ, ALL things are possible – even victory over conflicts which seem beyond the possibility of resolve.  We can’t do it, but Christ can and stands ready to bring it.

     Finally, feel free to email me, call on the phone, leave a voicemail on the blog page (above, right) and let me know of how some of you are holding out for HOPE that there better days are ahead of you and your congregation, rather than the best ones being in the past.  Our Staff and I are always ready to pray with you, listen to your situation and offer possibilities for healing and restoration.

   May the peace and courage of the Risen Christ be with you!


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