As every life has issues, so every church has issues as well. While most people talk of problems, I believe there are no problems. Certainly, there are issues in every life. But issues need not turn into problems. When you deal with problems, you start from and act out of the negative. However, when you envision those issues as opportunities instead of problems, you approach them from the positive, optimistic aspect of the issue.
When we address and attack an issue instead of the person, we are more likely to come to the desired resolution. Attacking an issue and attacking a person are two completely different paths to walk. While the first brings resolve, the second will only bring dissension and disunity. To bring resolve or to redirect the course, always address the issue, not the person.
Because most people are confrontation averse, we often ignore issues in our personal lives and in the church. When we ignore issues in the church, we acknowledge a lack of confidence in God’s ability to prevail over our difficulties. Our God is a Great God, greater than our difficulties. While some issues are known by many in the church they become the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about.
Part of the role of a leader is to identify, and state issues within the church. To avoid conflict and complaints many leaders avoid speaking of the issues. Ex. We know the church is in decline, but it is easier to ignore it. Yet, we cannot take the above statements as a license to bulldoze our way through issues, destroying everything and a person who does not see our reasoning.
It is difficult to paint a picture of a brighter future when leaders do not first lead the church to see the current canvas in its accuracy. This is not a time for browbeating. Rather it is a time to speak the truth in love. Speaking the truth in love about issues can be painful and difficult, but without it, true restoration and resolve cannot be found.
Begin with prayer.
- Ask God to help you understand the depth of the issue.
- Ask God to help you to understand the personalities involved.
- Pray for wisdom of how the issue could be addressed without involving names.
- Pray for a God-based resolve that will not negatively impact God’s kingdom witness.
People respond better to questions rather than being told. Think (and pray) how to formulate thought-provoking questions that will lead everyone on each side of an issue to openly and honestly view the issue (not people) in light of The Great Commission. A series of properly formulated questions will bring about God’s desired resolve and will lead the group/congregation on a better path, preferably on a path toward righteousness.
What is your first step in learning to better understand how to deal with Issues instead of people?