As I was reading the Bible, the Holy Spirit spoke something to me from the words of Jesus. In Matthew's gospel, chapter eleven, the Pharisees were doing what they do best, trying to catch Jesus in some sort of doctrinal error. In this particular instance, they accuse Jesus of casting out demons by the power of Satan (what idiots!) Here, Jesus says something that I believe speaks, not only to the Pharisees, but also to each of us and especially those of us who serve on church staff.
Jesus says, "Knowing their thoughts, He said to them, 'Every kingdom divided against itself is laid to waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand." Mt. 12:25
Now I have read this a thousand times, but something stood out to me that I had never seen before. Jesus specifically mentions three places that division can destroy; the kingdom, the city, and the home. WOW.
How does this apply to church staff? Well, I'm glad you asked. I believe when Satan attempts to infiltrate a church staff with division, he targets the three places of church ministry. They are, THE KINGDOM, THE CITY, & THE HOME.
- THE KINGDOM: The Kingdom is WHY WE DO CHURCH. It's not uncommon for Satan to sow seeds of division as to "why" we do church. Usually this will surface by someone on staff arguing about (but not limited to) the music being the wrong style, the preaching is too edgy, or the ministry programs are attracting "messy people." You must always protect the work of the Kingdom by asking the simple question, "Is what we're doing bringing people to Jesus and making disciples?" If the answer is YES, then keep doing what you're doing! Usually Satan uses staff who push back when asked to increase their commitment level, or they're overcome with jealousy due to being overlooked; or can't stand the constant push to step outside of their comfort zone. If you have staff like this, reach out to them, love them, and help them catch the vision of God's kingdom. If they don't or won't...replace them.
- THE CITY: The city is WHERE WE DO CHURCH. If a church loses sight of WHERE she is supposed to be Jesus, people suffer. I believe every God-planted church was intentionally placed there for the community or city which surrounds her. Often Satan will plant divisive thoughts in the minds of influential staff members, in an attempt to get the church to lose focus of her community. These thoughts will become verbalized with lines like, "We can't make a difference" or "Our community can never change" or "Let the larger churches take care of those needs." God established the church to be Jesus to cities and communities; your church is where it's at because there are people there whom God has called your church to reach. People counting on your church...and they don't even know it...but Satan does. Don't allow division to trick you into abandoning your first mission field...your city or community.
- THE HOME: The home is THE PULSE OF THE CHURCH. I don't care how great your lead pastor is, how innovative your teams are, or how effective your brainstorming sessions can be...if it's not right at home, it always bleeds over. Every home has its struggles, but when division takes over, we tend to become desensitized to the heartbeat of the church; the pain and resentment eventually causes staff members to go through the motions just to keep getting a paycheck; they can no longer hear the heartbeat of Jesus and His ministry. Protecting the unity of your marriage and family plays a HUGE part in the unity of your church. When unity exists among your spouse and family, it creates a synergy that can become contagious among those whom you work with. Unity is fluid; it flows; and the beginning of the stream begins at the dinner table.
So, if you are on staff at a church and feel like there's division creeping in...ask yourself which of these areas are missing unity and prayerfully fix it before things start falling apart.