When Church Leaders Argue

“If you have a problem with your church, don’t split it. Just go somewhere else. The church has enough division in it already,” my college professor once taught.

It’s unfortunate, but if you’re in leadership, you are bound to eventually butt heads with another leader—even in the church. This naturally comes with the territory of leadership, because leaders are designed to lead, and they will eventually disagree about what’s best. When this happens, there are a few different possible outcomes:

1. The other leaders will allow the primary leader to take charge, since that is their job.

2. The other leaders will harden their heart against the primary leader and try to ruin or usurp them.

3. The leaders will decide they’re too different and go their separate ways, hopefully as respectfully as possible.

After doing ministry together for quite some time, the dream-team that was Paul and Barnabas, decided to split up. Barnabas wanted to bring along John Mark on their next missionary campaign, but Paul didn’t think that was a good idea since John Mark had abandoned them earlier in ministry. Barnabas wanted to show grace, but Paul thought this would be too much of a risk to their mission, based on his previous actions.

Who was right? The Bible doesn’t tell us. But it does show us that church leaders have struggled with each other since the beginning and that we can only pray and hope that we handle such moments with love, respect, and wisdom—even if we remain on different pages.

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