There’s a common refrain in many of my recent interactions with church leaders. The commonality is not in the “problem” as it is presented, but in the root issue that underlies the situation. In one, a church had been split in an ugly conflict over the senior pastor’s leadership. Elsewhere, a “second chair” leader has felt unappreciated by his senior pastor and wonders what the future holds. Another church has struggled to find its direction and reverse a pattern of decline.
What is the common denominator in these disparate situations? In each case, there is a sense of pulling away when the right solution is to draw near. Many of the problems in our churches – at the individual and organizational levels – would be resolved if people would draw near.
Draw near to what? First, we need to draw near to God. We need to constantly seek His guidance for our lives and admit that we are dependent on Him. The spiritual vitality that this fosters puts everything in proper perspective. We also need to draw near to each other. This kind of relational vitality will not eliminate conflict, but it will lead to a very different outcome in times of turmoil.
Before you give up or pull away, no matter how difficult the season or the situation, try drawing near.