by Bob Dasal
"Being a Christian has never been easy, but it has always been worth it" is a statement I heard in a church revival meeting many years ago. The preacher was right! The life of a Christian is always challenging and at times the road can be pretty bumpy. Life is no respecter of persons, and heartache and heartbreak comes to all. Being a Christian does not mean immunity from difficulty and those who say differently are out of touch. The testimony of the believer is not what happens to us, but how we respond.
Sometimes difficulty divides people and churches. Is it possible to have harmony in the church when things that divide are present? Genuine harmony among genuine Christians is not only desirable but also possible when the biblical standard is followed. A key factor to harmony is loving leadership by the pastor. The other side of the coin involves the church family giving positive response to the pastor's loving leadership.
Serving as pastor of a church is difficult, but worth it if that's God call upon your life. Anyone entering the pastorate should be prepared to face the challenges and difficulties of leadership. Leading a congregation and working to maintain peace and harmony within the church family can be exhausting and frustrating. I have tremendous appreciation and respect for pastors who are tough-minded but tender-hearted.
Sometimes the stress can seem overwhelming. As a result, hundreds of pastors are quitting, plus many more resign under pressure (or are fired) every month. In today's church, conflict between pastor and congregation has, too often, become commonplace.
Below the surface, what is the "harmony level" where you serve? Beginning in this issue, on page 19, we're running a series of three articles on "How Pastors Can Manage and Resolve Church Conflicts" by Dennis Hester. Pastor Hester is an intentional interim minister specializing in helping churches prepare to call their next full-time minister. He also serves as a seminary speaker, church consultant, and director of People Power Training, where he conducts workshops in communication, conflict management and learning to deal with transitions. He is the author of the newly-released book, Pastor, We Need to Talk! The book addresses how congregations and pastors can solve their problems before it's too late.
Bob Dasal is editor-in-chief of Pulpit Helps.