Conflict in the Church
Occasionally I will hear someone say, “I wish we could be like the church we read about in the book of Acts!” To which I usually say a quick “Amen!” with an even quicker follow up question. “What part of the early church do you particularly admire?” The unanimous response is the church as it is described in Acts 2:42-47.
"And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
Since I am one who wants to make sure we are telling the “whole truth,” I usually remind them that it takes a lot of hard work to maintain a church as it is described in Acts 2. For example, we must be willing to lovingly and honestly confront difficult issues. Then I point out that the early church had to face conflicts. In fact, Acts records four major ones dealing with money, ministry, the message, and the messenger. I’m sure you’re not surprised that they are even alliterated
So, you can have a healthy church and you will still encounter conflict. But those conflicts must be handled in a biblical manner. Stay tuned for further insights from these early church conflicts in next week’s edition of Distilling Truth in Deeply Divided Times.
Mark Elliott, DoM
Mark is in his twenty-seventh year of serving as an Associational Missions Strategist. He served in western Iowa for almost eight years, and is in his nineteenth year with HCN. He has a passion to see pastors and church leaders grow in their abilities to lead their churches. He continues to have a heart and desire to see new churches planted and God continues to use his strategic thinking skills in this area. Mark also has a wealth of experience in helping churches clarify who God has created them to be, and what they can do best to reach their community. He has had ample opportunities to help churches in times of conflict, and has seen God do exciting things to restore a spirit of harmony, returning churches to a time of fruitfulness. He also helps churches in transition by working with search committees. Mark and Phyllis who were married in November of 2018 have four children and three grandchildren. They will enjoy their combined 87th anniversary in just a few days.