Particularly in the church?
Recently in one of our Life Group coaching meetings at my church, we were discussing how polarizing our culture has gotten. Especially recently.
One person commented that people are generally disagreeable. Another said that we don't know how to have discussions with people that see things even a little differently than we do. Yet another mentioned that today it is much more difficult to get along and have rational conversations with people, even people they've known for years.
My gut response: culture is just catching up to the church.
For hundreds of years (ok thousands of years), the church has been overly disagreeable. We don't like to have discussions with anyone that thinks even slightly differently than we do. In fact, many times, we are unwilling to even have rational conversations with those people.
That's why there's a different church on every corner in your town.
That's why there are well over 200 denominations in the United States, and why 59% of churches in America are under 100 people.
That's why people church hop. If we don't like something, we leave.
That's why church staff move from church to church to church over their careers. It's hard to keep imperfect people (or people that we disagree with on anything) on our payroll.
That's why there is conflict in our boardrooms and in our staff meetings.
And why people, who see a rag-tag group of leaders that are more interested in cloning themselves than achieving the mission, eventually leave the church for good.
But there is good news.
I see more and more churches engaging and breaking down barriers.
More and more churches are starting to communicate better and initiate conversations that, until this point, have not been commonplace in the church.
Increasingly, churches are seeing that by identifying their unique DNA and mission, it actually broadens their ability to minister in their communities, keep the peace inside their walls, and keep their battles to the truly significant matters of the Gospel.
It helps them hire better and manage relationship issues with their current staff better.
As a church, there are some things that you need to fight for (the Gospel, specifically).
Most other things should be worked through rationally and maturely.
That's no small feat.
But more and more churches are finding out that their future depends on it. Literally.
As today's culture gets more and more divisive, the church has to double-down on offering hope, peace, and future.
Seems to me, that should be right in our wheelhouse.
What can YOU do this week to help make this a reality in your church and community?
Todd has invested over 30 years in serving churches, having served as a worship pastor for over 15 years, a church elder for more than a decade, and in various ministry leadership roles in both the business and non-profit sectors. As the original founder and developer of ChurchStaffing.com, Todd fundamentally changed the way thousands of churches search for pastors and staff on the internet. Most recently, Todd’s work with Leadership Network has provided him exposure to the innovative trends in today’s church and inside knowledge of how healthy churches operate and uses it to help churches find a healthy, long-term fit for their next team member. Todd is a graduate of Cedarville University, and lives in Bryan, OH with his wife, Dawn.