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The Dangerous Center Aisle of a Church

By October 24, 2012Church

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)

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 8 Comments

  • Jordan says:

    Unfortunately disunity is the biggest hinderence to people coming to church. Many people now claim to be spiritual and not attend church. While that may be possible, it is not in line with the scriptures. But we represent God and when we as a church act like that we show people who need Salvation that that is what God is like. I am convinced some churches breed atheism. I know because I was a youth pastor turned atheist who finally found my way back to God. Issues in the church are personal to me because I know how it has affected my personal life and how it affects the God who I love more than anything. Great post sir.

  • janehinrichs says:

    The center aisle…this is very interesting and the division is often true. But I am picturing the small country church my family and I attend. Every Sunday my teenage son's wheelchair sits right in the middle of the aisle so everyone has to go around him. What do you think? When something or someone is placed in the middle does it affect this disunity?

    • ronedmondson says:

      Sounds more like a bridge to me.And please understand I'm not advocating against a center aisle. I'm advocating for unity.

      • janehinrichs says:

        No worries. It is totally apparent in your post you are advocating unity. I'm going go to tell my son he is a bridge! I think you're right — it is amazing how God uses people. My son can't talk or walk or do much of anything as far as personal skills — but God uses him in wonderful ways….as He does with all of us when we let Him. Thank you.

        • ronedmondson says:

          We just baptized a young man like that in our church…by sprinkling…and it caused others to take that important step. He's an amazing witness. I can connect you to the family if you're ever interested.