The center aisle in a church building. You know, the one that splits the church auditorium down the middle.
I thought it was just for weddings. It certainly makes for pretty pictures. Or maybe it was for symmetry. Some people like things equal like that.
It turns out there is more than appearance in some churches.
I recently talked to some pastors…several in the same week…who pastor divided churches. They are split…right down the middle. They have chosen sides of an issues with a 50/50 split…or some percentage close to that.
Many churches have issues that divide them like the center aisle divides the sanctuary. Each pastor I talked to is trying to lead the church, but consistently battling the lack of unity.
In fact, in extreme situations (and there appear to be many of them), people on either side of the “aisle” won’t talk to people on the other side.
It makes me wonder how those outside the church view this dynamic. Would you join a church that couldn’t get along with itself?
I’m reminded of the Scriptures:
For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. (James 3:16-4:1-2)
Brothers this should not be.
My only advice to my pastor friends. “You will need to address the disunity before you can move forward. You will never realize all God has intended for the church until you do.”
If you are leading a church in disunity, I would suggest you stop trying to add new programs or tweaking old ones. That seems to be futile work to me until the bigger, more foundational issue is addressed. People need to be able to rally around a common vision. That seems like job number one to me.
Have you been in a church suffering from disunity?
(You may now want to read my post on Creating Unity)