I loved yesterday’s post! If you’re a youth worker, how could you not? It was so telling of what youth workers do. Today I want to turn a different direction and consider the reality of conflict.

In ministry, conflict distracts, discourages, and if one doesn’t navigate it carefully, it can derail a leader. Our spiritual heroes didn’t avoid conflict:

* Everywhere our Savior went, it seemed as though he was in conflict.

* The closest followers of Jesus fought with one another over who should be the greatest. They even brought their mom into a conflict.

* The Apostle Paul had conflicts with the nicest guy in the Bible: Barnabas. How do you battle with a guy named Encouragement?

I don’t have all the answers connected to conflict, although I’ve sure had my share of it in ministry.

Which conflict do you want to hear about? The one with the (1) senior pastor, (2) the elder board, (3) the parents’ group, (4) the student leadership, (5) the volunteers, (6) the high school principle … you name it. I’ve got a story.

I think the turning point for me came when I accepted the simple (yet, not obvious to me) fact that conflict and ministry are synonymous.

Why would my ministry be any different than the heroes of my faith? If conflict was part of Jesus’ ministry… the disciples… Paul/Barnabas… and so many others, why not me? Moses didn’t even go into leadership willingly and he was flooded with crazy situations.

Moses goes to spend time with God and when he returns from the mountain one of his key leaders is building gold idols to appease the whining minority. Okay, I’ve got to admit, that’s a conflict I’ve never had to dealt with. Mutiny? Yes. But, never idol worship.

If you’ve signed on to ministry, you’ve signed up for conflict. Why are we surprised when it happens to us?

If you’re currently not engaged in conflict I would encourage two actions; (1) Rejoice! Enjoy the season. (2) Prepare! There’s a conflict right around the corner. It’s coming your way. It’s moving toward your home and it’s not just a teenager armed with toilet paper (that’s easy to clean up…in comparison).

Ministry involves people and people are packing impure motives, misunderstandings, insecurities, sin, and hidden agendas.


Where do you find most of your conflict originates?


[Tomorrow is my 26th wedding anniversary and it has prompted me to write about the 3 biggest learnings I’ve had with ministry and marriage]