Change and conflict
For the past six months our church has been engaged in discovering what is the next step for our church. We have begun to look at statistics that show that we are in the downward arc of growth. This is not bad considering our church has encountered these problems before. In each downward arc, the church (and God) managed to turn the pattern around and grow. Realizing that a majority of our members agree with this, we have begun to engage in the hard work of discerning where we are to go next.
For the past couple years we have hired a church growth consultant that has been talking about to reengage in evangelism. As a number of us have come together to look at the possibilities of what could possibly be… it exiting. Exciting to be a part of reshaping the direction of our church. Exciting to interact with people that do not enter our doors. Exciting to be used.
While I and several of our core leadership may be excited about the possibilities, it would be unwise for us to assume that everyone thinks the same as we do. This past Session meeting we began talking about conflict and change. How many times when change is made it can polarize people into groups and in cause deep divisions. In Session we discussed how do we defuse potential trigger points. The biggest thought was to create an atmosphere of unity. Unity of the church moving in a sense of mission… together we are doing this mission. Often times it may be groups of people that are doing the “mission” rather than an “mission” birthed of the church. While conflict is a byproduct of change it must not be simply brushed under the rug. Rather it needs to be engaged and dealt with on many different levels. From the Ruler Elder on Session to the average congregation member to the shut in. It is in that spirit of unity that we have begun to really study and plan change instead of change that is not well thought out.
These next couple of months should be exciting as the conversation starts on how we can do “mission” together.