Dealing With Feuds and Factions

It sometimes happens that feuds and factions spring up in churches, greatly hindering the progress of the work, and turning souls from the church in discouragement and disgust.

By W. C. MOFFETT, minister, Chesapeake Conference

It sometimes happens that feuds and factions spring up in churches, greatly hindering the progress of the work, and turning souls from the church in discouragement and disgust. "For where envying and strife is, there is con­fusion and every evil work." James 3 :16. Our wily adversary knows that strife in the church can do far more to hinder the work than all the opposition that can be mustered from the out­side. We are told : "The Lord does not now work to bring many souls into the truth, be­cause of the church members who have never been converted, and those who were once con­verted but who have backslidden."—"Testimo­nies," Vol. VI, p. 371.

Thousands of dollars have been expended upon efforts conducted by able evangelists, but division and strife in the local churches have sometimes hindered effective co-operation, bringing discouragement and failure. The elimination of factions and the bringing in of unity becomes, therefore, a matter of first con­sideration for the pastor, if the church is to become a fit and attractive place to bring new converts. The local worker holds the key to the situation. It is of the utmost importance that he should establish himself in the confi­dence of his people as being fair and impartial, and deeply interested in the soul of every mem­ber without regard to faction, position, wealth, or poverty. The moment it becomes known that a worker is favoring one faction in a church, his influence is dead with the other group.

In taking oversight of a church, I have fol­lowed the practice of informing the congrega­tion that I do not purpose to become a father confessor, particularly where persons have a burden to confess other people's sins, and I have found our people glad to co-operate. Not only must the worker take a decided position against permitting his mind to become preju­diced by one-sided reports, which are invari­ably colored and exaggerated by personal prejudice, but he must lead his people to a deep and genuine Christian experience which will substitute the fruits of the Spirit for the works of the flesh, and the love of Christ for the spirit of hatred and ill will. "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." It is our task as workers to get at the root of the matter by reaching and changing the heart through the Spirit of God. "Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out ; so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth." Prov. 26 :20.

A sore cannot heal if it is being picked at continually. Neither can a mud puddle be cleared up if it is continually stirred. Church trials, with their spirit of self-justification and recrimination, generally deepen and widen the gulf. But where hearts are melted by the influ­ence of the Spirit of God, differences are quickly made up in a genuine spirit of concilia­tion.

It is important to keep the members busy in constructive activities and soul-winning endeavor. Satan always finds work for idle hands to do. A passer-by was once attracted by the barking of a dog team, but was unable to discover the occasion for the barking. He inquired of the boy driver, "At what are your dogs barking?" "Mister," answered the lad, "it is easier for the dogs to bark than to pull."

When the members of the church are ab­sorbed in soul-winning activities, disciplinary problems are at a minimum. Of all times in the year when special care is needed, we would say it is at the time of the annual church elec­tion. On such occasions small sparks can easily be fanned into a full-size conflagration, and old feuds revived, especially if one group manages to get control of the nominating com­mittee in an endeavor to elect its own candi­dates and to blackball others.

We recall one such occasion on which the nominating committee, appointed by the church board, was controlled by the members of the dominant faction. It appeared that all the pas­tor had done to unify the church was about to be swept away by partisan prejudices. But the pastor quietly suggested to influential members of the committee that the impartial selection of consecrated, capable officers from both groups would avoid the threatened stirring up of fratricidal strife, and would cement the unity of the church. The counsel was followed with the happiest results.

To remove the danger of suspicion that the church board is seeking to control the election in its selection of members of the nominating committee, some churches wisely associate with the board an additional five or seven members as a committee to appoint the nominating com­mittee. The results are very satisfactory. May the day be hastened when the disciples again are all with one accord in one place, so that under the final outpouring of the Spirit of God in pentecostal power this work can be quickly finished, and the kingdom of everlasting love, joy, and peace be set up."

Advertisement - RevivalandReformation 300x250

Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus

By W. C. MOFFETT, minister, Chesapeake Conference

September 1941

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

Direct Evangelism Our Primary Task

The work for which we have been called into existence is to proclaim in all the world God's message for this time, and "to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

Adaptability Under War Conditions

Why we need to be flexible in changing times.

Evangelism Where There are No Churches

At times we hear discussions that so emphasize the value of the laity in the preparation and work during evange­listic efforts, that some might well conclude that it would be almost impossible to conduct a successful effort where there is not already a church.

Lay Evangelism and Bible Studies

How local pastors and lay members can equip themselves for soul-winning work.

The Canons of Sacred Music

What are the canons, or laws, of sacred music which should govern our choice of sacred music ?

Prophetic Guidance in Early Days

The final article in our series of our look at the influence of the spirit of Prophecy in 1844-1855 look at the development of later attitudes toward the prophetic gift.

What is the Chistian's Best Strategy?

How best do we engage with evolution?

Problems of Daniel 1 (Concluded)

In the article last month on the problems of A the I and their solution, five problems were stipulated, and we dealt with three, showing that they were no problem at all. We come now to problems 4 and 5, and their explanation.

Editorial Keynotes

From the Editor's desk.

A Call for Educational Evangelism

Recognizing the three phases of evangelism.

Safeguards and Responsibilities

A Christian character is the best se­curity to be obtained in the safeguard­ing of money and other values. Hon­esty, sincerity, integrity, and faithfulness in private relations and in public duties, are the qualities which give assurance of moral re­sponsibility.

A Spiritual Lesson from Physiology

There is a phenomenon exhibited by some of the outstanding tissues of the body which demonstrates the "all-or-none law."

Simplifications of Nursing Arts--No. 1

It s the purpose of this article to review simplifications of procedure which may be taught parallel with Nursing Arts, and which may be used while doing nursing in the home.

The Missionary Doctor's Consultant

The challenging and difficult situations of an overseas physician.

The Medical Work in Evangelism

Presentation at a Bible workers' meeting, Gen­eral Conference, San Francisco.

Order of Progressive Bible Studies

Is there a best order for giving bible studies to those unacquainted with our faith?

Capitalize the Pastor's Study

Let us think of the pastor's study, or office, not only as a medium for contact with church members, but also as an agency toward more efficient work for the pastor in his min­istry.

Editorial Postscripts

From the Ministry back page.

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - Southern Adv Univ 180x150 - Animated


Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - Healthy and Happy Family - Skyscraper 160x600