- Jim Townsley
- Mar 24, 2014
The Bible states believers should seek to be at peace with all men. “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” -Rom 12:18- The Bible makes it clear that Christians should be characterized by the love of Christ rather than anger and strife. There is no excuse for poor manners or behavior once a man or woman has trusted Christ as their Savior. All Christians should be known for their virtuous lifestyle characterized by peace.
However, peace at any price is never God’s plan. Preachers must not sacrifice the pure doctrine of the Bible for the sake of unity and cooperation. That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; - Ephesians 4:14 – Young preachers must be students of the Word of God and know what they believe and why they believe it. Sound doctrine is essential for a new church. People need to know the beliefs of the church and the Scripture that backs up those beliefs. The preacher’s job is to warn people of false prophets and false teaching. Warning of impending doctrinal danger may be done in a spirit of love, but it must be done firmly and clearly. Pleasing everyone is not the preacher’s job!
Not only is doctrine important, but the methods by which the church operates is important. There may arise a difference of opinion as to the role women in the church. Someone may come along that believes women should be deacons in the church, or perhaps even that women can be pastors of the church. Every young preacher must know what he believes and why. Another member may believe tithing is unscriptural or that soul-winning is unscriptural. Yet another person may believe that speaking in tongues is for today. Know where you stand on these issues. The Bible preacher must not waffle.
Making everyone happy is an impossible task. The key for every church planter is to determine what the Scripture says and stand by it. People may leave the church over sensitive issues, however not taking a stand only prolongs the inevitable, they will eventually leave anyway. Standing on principle may produce trials that are difficult to face. In spite of the fact that true Christianity seeks peace, persecutions and trials inevitably will come. Paul was stoned, shipwrecked, destitute, and imprisoned. Yet, Paul remained faithful to the Word of God.
Many dangers preachers face are obvious, such as known sinful behavior or doctrinal error, however the ones most difficult to recognize are the most dangerous. Fear of offending a prominent member by omitting a key verse of Scripture or avoiding an important doctrine is as dangerous as government intervention. No preacher wants to be ridiculed as ignorant or unlearned, yet the Bible is clear that it is the foolishness of preaching that saves the lost. Paul determined to go to Corinth without wisdom of words but in demonstration of the power of God.
A new church attracts new people. These new people will have varied backgrounds and ideas. Trying to please everyone will result in a lack of direction and in the end may please no one. If a family in the church disagrees with the pastor on a major issue they can be disruptive to the church. Therefore it is important that the preacher be clear where he stands on major issues of the church. The main goal of the church planter should be to please the Lord. This cannot be an excuse to disagree with others, but it should be founded in the Word of God. Dealing with sensitive issues should not be done in the flesh but in the power of the Spirit.
Often strife occurs because of protocol and not doctrine. Every preacher has his own leadership style and his abilities should continually be honed to make him a stronger leader. Church planters must gain the confidence of their members and when members learn to trust the preacher they will follow his leadership. Your style is something you will develop during the early years of your ministry. Listen to your critics but do not become persuaded by them. Sometimes your critics will be right and you should be willing to change if that be true. Critics have a way of refining you and preparing you to become stronger in your positions. If through prayer and study of the Bible you determine that your critics are wrong then nothing should be able to persuade you to change. You can’t please everyone, but you can please the Lord!