Do you experience conflict in your church? At the recent Church Central Turnaround 20/20 conference, I gave a presentation on ten principles from Proverbs that can help prevent conflict in a church or business.
The leader must faithfully practice these, or unhealthy conflict will continue to flourish. Another issue is that conflict can sprout as soon as a contentious person enters the group, or when Satan succeeds in fomenting discord and distrust among your people.
Gal. 5:14-26 (NIV) 14The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." 15If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
16So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. 18They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.
19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
We can infer from this passage the following leadership principle:
Conflict starts within individuals before it manifests between them.
According to Gal. 5:16, the main cause of internal conflict is not living by the Spirit.
Tom Harper is president of Networld Media Group, a publisher of online trade journals and events for the banking, retail, restaurant and church leadership markets. He is the author of Leading from the Lions' Den: Leadership Principles from Every Book of the Bible (B&H).
"Many people in ministry are so afraid of conflict that they won't respond to e-mails or phone messages if they have an answer they think you might not like. So all you get is silence, which frustrates you and sets the stage for the …