Church Reconciliation: What to do when the sheep split and the goats bite?
Question: What do we do when the church is on the verge of splitting and people are backbiting?
When a church has been in a community for an extended period of time, it is only a matter of time before something happens, conflict enters the front door or comes in through the back door, and someone isupset. Peacemaker Ministries believes that every church needs reconcilers, peacemakers, or conciliators. When a culture of reconciliation is intentionally developed then the church can be called a reconciling church.
Reconciliation Scripture Foundation
2 Corinthians 5:16–18 (ESV)
“16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation-“
The church is given the ministry of reconciliation. Who is the church? Anyone who is in Christ is the church. This is so important:church reconcilers, Christian reconcilers, or should I just say authentic peacemakers are those who have truly experienced the Gospel in their lives. As new creations, we have the opportunity to walk in and minister in reconciliation. What is the ministry of reconciliation? Look at verse 19:
2 Corinthians 5:19 (ESV)
“19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.”
So what do we do when the sheep split and the goats bite? Oh yes back to my main topic question.
A reconciliation team or a peacemaking team is a group of people who have the heart and actions of 1 Corinthians 5:18. They believe in carrying the mantle of “the ministry of reconciliation.” This ministry is very important to the proper function of the body of Christ. These teams have the ability to see others not in their fallen-nessbut as new creations in Christ. This is a hope filled view of others by only seeing them through the Gospel. See Reconciling Teams for more information.
Preach the Message of Reconciliation
Often times when ministers are experiencing a church split or backbitingthey end up preaching a message of “no gossiping,” a message of “no questioning,” or a message of “no leaving.” God calls us to preach a humble message of reconciliation. What is this message? Verse 19, states it clearly. “In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, by not counting their trespasses against them.”He didn’t say to stop complaining, stop asking questions, or stop leaving; he said to start reconciling. Reconciling by not counting sin but rather entrusting the message of reconciliation. That is a powerful message. How can you inspire those in your church to be trustworthy with the message of reconciliation?
Give us a call at 1-800-711-7118 x701 if we can help your church reconcile.
P. Brian Noble