You might be aware that disunity exists on your ministry team, but you have never thought through why it exists. While there are many possible grounds why division might be present, there are some common reasons that happen very frequently:
- Immature Members – Some of the division on your team is that you have spiritually immature members. Physically, your average age may be 40 years old, but spiritually, the team members act like they are 4 years old. Part of Christian discipleship is maturing (Eph 4:13-14) and leaving childish ways behind (1 Cor 13:11). Where Christian maturity is lacking, division is guaranteed.
- Personality Differences – Sometimes conflict happens simply because people are different than one another. Division can happen not because people are against one another but they are just not like one another. Your extroverts unnerve your introverts. Your touchy feely type fluster the personal space advocates. Some conflicts will have to be avoided by learning how to deal with the differences.
- Hostile Personalities – Division can often happen on a team simply due to the involvement of a divisive person. Unprovoked and unwarranted, some people are just down right hot-tempered who stir up strife wherever they go (Prov 15:18). There are those who claim the name of Christ and excel at devouring one another (Gal 5:15). By provoking people constantly (Gal 5:26), a hostile person can set the whole thing on fire (Prov 16:27).
- Unresolved Issues – Some teams can’t get traction today or plan for tomorrow because baggage is still lying around from yesterday. Maybe the catalyst that caused the conflict in the past isn’t happening anymore, but what was done back there was never addressed with in a healthy manner. Without a pursuit of peace (Heb 12:14), peace cannot exist where there has been conflict if no one is willing to make an adjustment (Rom 12:18).
- Disrespectful Attitudes – If your team has disrespectful attitudes towards one another, they simply do not acknowledge or appreciate the contributions of other team members. In that type of environment, no one can celebrate the gifts of another because his or her gifts are not the ones be celebrating at that moment. If members aren’t dedicated to loving one another (1 Thess 4:9) and promoting harmony (Rom 12:16), true unity will be hard to experience.
- Warring Sects – Beware of the meetings after the meeting. While teams can vary in size, smaller groups of people can form cliques and cause disunity among the ranks. Those who whisper and stir things up separates close friends and causes strife among the group (Prov 16:28). Those people who enjoy starting strife opens up the floodgates towards unthinkable and unneeded issues (Prov 17:14).
- Unshared Vision – One of the major ways teams divide is due to the lack of shared vision. The goal of being of the same mind is critical (Phil 2:2; 1 Cor 1:10). If the oxen have to plow connected to one another, one cannot go left and the other go right. There must be a common and shared focus.
I am sure there are more, but these 7 reasons why disunity exists on your team must be addressed. There is too much at stake!
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.
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