There’s an unseen factor in Saddleback Church’s growth that most people overlook – church unity. God blesses a unified church. Many churches have tremendous potential, but they never achieve what God desires because the members spend all their time fighting with one another. All of the energy is focused inward.
The Bible talks more about unity of the church than it does about either heaven or hell. It’s that important. Churches are made up of people, and there are no perfect people. So people get into conflict with each other. As pastors, we need to learn how to deal with those situations. Specifically, we’re called to do these six things when disunity threatens our church.
1. Avoid situations that cause arguments. The Bible says in 2 Timothy 2:23-24 (NIV): “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.” Pastors should avoid causing arguments. As a leader you need to set the example for your whole church on this issue. When a minor argument comes along, refuse to get in the middle of it. You don’t need to have an opinion on everything. Some discussions don’t deserve your participation. Focus your conversation on topics that matter.
2. Teach troublemakers to repent. 2 Timothy 2:25-26 (NIV) says, “Those who oppose him [the pastor] he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” Most pastors don’t like confrontations. But we can’t run from them. As the pastor, you must gently instruct those creating dissention and opposing the teaching in the church.