Politics in the church…

Someone asked, “Why are there politics in the church?”

Without trying to be condescending I answered simply…

Because there are people in the church.

Where people gather…things will often get political

Special interests. Personal agendas. Group platforms. Jockeying for position, power and influence.

Sounds like politics to me.

Sounds like church.

We shouldn’t be surprised when politics appear in the church. Frankly, I would be more surprised if there wasn’t and I grow a little suspicious of what is being hidden when there isn’t.

Just being honest and speaking from experience.

Remember James and John…two of Jesus’ closest disciples? (Mark 10:35-45)

Sounds somewhat political to me. Jockeying. Platforms. Agendas. Special interests.

How did Jesus reply?

Jesus knew that the desire for position was normal. He didn’t scold them. He validated their position as disciples. He also didn’t give into them. He helped them understand their greater role as servants and redirected their attention to what was more important. He used the political opportunity for a greater Kingdom purpose.

Don’t be surprised at the politics in the church. In fact, expect it. There’s people involved. Don’t be led by politics. Find ways to redirect attention, refocus energies, and point people to the greater good.

Any politics in your church?

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13 thoughts on “Politics in the church…

  1. I appreciate that you address the Elephant in the Room. Doing that helps us all address the issues that are there so we don't have to be careful we might hurt someone's feelings or that we are going to be looked down upon by someone who thinks differently that we do. Call it politics, pecking order, whatever. It's people and we have a source of authority to help us figure out how to work with them.

  2. To start off a sermon on "unity in our diversity" I asked a couple of audience participation questions. One set of questions were, "Who in the past has voted for a democrat" and "Who has voted for a republican?" Yup. Decided to just go for it. Since there are people in the church, might as well let them in on the secret too. We won't ever find unity in diversity if we don't acknowledge the diversity.

  3. I agree Ron that where people are there will be a politic.
    The problem is what kind of politic is it. I'm a big fan of Patrick Lencioni's works on team work and silos to help make sure that the leadership team of the organization or church is delivering a productive brand of politics.

    • Yea. I agree. It wasn't a post about right or wrong, or brands of politics, as much as not to be surprised when its there.
      Twitter: Ronedmondson

  4. I think that this problem is universal. It not specific to US alone. In India too, we have the same problem in church. It is rare to find a place without politics. Over the years, I have understood that politics there wherever there is a group of individuals.

  5. Great topic Ron, and timely in this political season. Great response from Brad. He validates a belief I have had for 15 years. I never could quite get into that whole WJJD thing in the late 1990's because with my small understanding I am supposed to decide what Jesus would do? I like Brad's thought. Not WJJD but WDJD. What Did Jesus Do. No, we don't have a supply of wristbands made up here in Berkeley. Yes, politics is rampant in the church here and probably everywhere. Now, thanks to Ron we know how Jesus handeled it. WDJD!!! I am vindicated! Make up a few million of those wristbands and send one to me.

  6. What a unique, positive, and biblical way to approach this common, yet ultra frustrating problem. It is amazing to be reminded that our problems today are not new problems and that our Lord already modeled an answer for us. Great post!
    Twitter: _brad_gilbert_