When Dream Teams Become Nightmares

Conflict is normal; how we handle it is the key.

When a man’s ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. ~ Proverbs 16:7 (ESV) 

READING: Philippians 2:3-13 

Serving Jesus with believers is usually a wonderful blessing. But not always. When conflict disrupts a ministry team, it can be discouraging. We expect more. Dream teams can become nightmares.

Jack Walker, a seasoned Christian leader, counseled me about conflict in the ministry workplace. “Keep your expectations low and your hopes high,” he said. Part of the problem is that we have the unrealistic expectation that we won’t ever encounter conflict. We need to remember that the Apostle Paul, Barnabas and John Mark had conflict and an unhappy separation early in their first missionary church planting journey. Conflict is normal; how we handle it is the key.

He also counseled that the problem is usually not aptitude but attitude – particularly pride and an unwillingness to humble ourselves. Scripture has much to say about humility and serving others, such as, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Phil. 2:3). “But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all” (Mark 10:43b, 44). Walker emphasized that it is most important for the team to agree together to “speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15).

Finally, he told an inspiring story about the well-known reference book, The Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible. Although over a million copies are in print, the author insists on being anonymous. The author also refused an offer of a million dollars royalty for his work, believing God would have him serve with minimal compensation.

I wonder if there would be a lot less ministry conflict if all of us were that selfless and humble. 

Lord Jesus, Please help me to humble myself and be the slave of all! Amen. 

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