I feel God dropped in my spirit last night, a slightly different take on this #deaconThursday prayer focus. In past weeks, we've have prayed for deacons, admin and staff to rediscover the value of their work and ministry, for discernment in the decisions they make and the impact of their front-line engagement with the community.
We all wish, hope, pray and long to believe that deacon boards and pastors get along wonderfully and offer incredible support to each others efforts in their respective areas of ministry. Yet sadly, we have all experienced first-hand, moments and occasions where that is not the case.
You would think, the prayer focus would be on praying for them as they deal with these issues. The twist? What if they are, or are perceived to be the issue? How is conflict handled among leadership, not just leadership v. staff? How are matters handled when moral failures arise? Theological differences? Operational and ministerial decisions that are detrimental to the church itself, it's congregation and the community they serve?
Settling matters and disagreements are difficult enough when you like each other and appreciate each other and the responsibilities each one carries. I'm not sure how want to imagine what happens when life and ministry has taken it's toll and the likability and appreciation factors are no longer in place. Devastation comes to mind. I imagine this is an area over which churches split. Tragically. Repercussions extend to people who were once strong in the faith, now desiring little to nothing to do with church. And those in need of church, now second-guessing themselves... unsure if it's "worth it". It is, but after this, it'll be an uphill battle.
Pray, this #deaconThursday, for churches in trouble, because of problems with board members, admins and staff. Pray for healing and reconciliation in these matters, to as much extent as possible. Pray for discernment and understanding as conversations transpire. Pray for wisdom, for Pastors, as they try to navigate situations where administrative problems overtake their schedule and hinder ministry efforts. Pray that the spirit of hostility, mistrust and suspicion will cease. Pray that while the outcomes may be less than desirable, may all parties go away, understanding still, that what the enemy planned for ruin and harm, God will use all circumstance for His good purposes.
Disagreements resolved. Dissension dismissed. Positioning of power and assertion ceased. Emotions and thoughts subsided.
May cool heads prevail as waters of dissent are navigated. May the church remain, standing strong, even in uncertain and tumultuous times. For the glory of God and His higher purposes.
Peace and unity within the body of Christ; for His name sake.
Just a man, attempting to fulfill God's plan. Husband, Dad, Dreamer. Blogger.