Conflict Among Local Church Leaders

Without question, humanly speaking, in the local church everything rises and falls upon leadership. The success or failure of any Christian organization rests with its leadership. The Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:20 that God builds His church on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. Apostles and prophets along with evangelists, pastors, and teachers comprise the leadership in local churches throughout the body of Christ. Leaders work in companion with subordinates, viz., associates, staff, and workers, in carrying out the mandate of God for their respective churches and organizations.

Leaders are ministry gifts to the body of Christ and their subordinates are supportive aids and assistants to them (Ephesians 4:8-11; 1 Corinthians 12:28). Both have viable ministries that must be properly understood, respected and appreciated. A balanced and contextual understanding of this relationship is much needed. A Christian may realize a call of God on his or her life to serve, but ministry gifts are another level of gifting. These calls and gifts fall into two categories:

First: apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher; also called the “five-fold” ascension ministry gifts. These are positions of leadership in the Body of Christ that, in many instances, require prior experience in other areas of service such as the ministry of helps and the office of deacon. Second: elders, deacons, and helps (1 Corinthians 12:28; 1 Timothy 3:1-13). The latter category is ministries that are appointed rather than called in the same sense as the five-fold ministry gifts. The first group is comprised of those whom the Lord Jesus Christ has appointed. The second consist of those who are appointed by leaders serving in the five-fold ministry.

This organizational connection between the ascension ministry gift and the subordinate necessitates much interaction and communication among them in their working relationship–much like that of a husband and wife in marriage. As a result of this ministerial relationship, it is inevitable that there will be opportunities for conflict and disagreement.

 

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