Conflict Is a Constant, Encouragement Is a Fuel
The best way to avoid conflict about worship styles is to leave things the way they are, right? Not according to a survey conducted by Faith Communities Today* (FACT).
FACT has surveyed religious congregations of every kind, Jewish and Muslim and others as well as Protestants, Evangelicals, Catholics, and Orthodox. When it comes to worship, these groups, diverse as they are, have some things in common.
One of these is conflict.
One set of questions in the FACT surveys surrounded worship change and conflict. Most of the congregations (60 percent) that introduced “a lot of change” in worship experienced some conflict. In a quarter of these congregations with the dramatic worship changes, the conflict was serious enough that people left the church because of it.
But here’s an even more surprising figure. Among congregations with “no change” in worship style, 29 percent—almost a third!—experienced conflict about worship. And even among these seemingly static groups, 8 percent saw church members leave because of disagreements about worship!
All of which leads to at least a couple conclusions:
Conflict is unavoidable, even among people who say they’ve gathered to worship God.
If you’re a leader, you’ll never keep all the people happy all the time. So think first about what’s best and right and leave politics for all those folks on the November ballot.
If you’re a follower, realize you won’t be happy all the time. So make sure the cause you’re championing has more weight behind it than just what you want most.
Rah Rah for J.K. Jones! The overflowing praise from J.K. Jones in our “Opinions” column this week came to us entirely unsolicited—but not unappreciated! Among his best lines: “A word of encouragement is jet fuel in the writing engine.”
We’re indeed grateful for what J.K. wrote. And he’s certainly not the only one who encourages us: sometimes in writing, more often in person. We have a core of complimentary as well as faithful readers.
We’re always glad to hear from any of you, and not just when you like something here. We carefully listen to our critics, too. We print virtually all comments that come to our website and make room for letters to the editor as often as possible. (But if you send in an essay titled “Boo for Christian Standard,” we may not have room for it on our “Opinions” page!)
*For more information, go to www.FaithCommunitiesToday.org.