Unity is what the Lord Jesus wants for the church. In reality, there are contradictions in many churches, and some have developed into serious disputes. The experience of two "firefighting" pastors is worth learning from.
Pastor Hu has been a pastor for about 30 years and is currently serving in a provincial CC&TSPM. When the grassroots church faces a dispute that it cannot resolve itself, he goes to "put out the fire." Pastor Hu would make it clear to both sides, "I am not here to solve problems. I am here to preach." Then, he would further say, if the other person has committed a crime, then you go to the police. He doesn't control that; he just preaches.
"If you get involved, you're not going to solve the problem." Pastor Hu said it earnestly. When confronted with such a difficult problem, he always solved it by preaching. There was nothing specific about the sermon; it was just routine. He would not only hold one or two sermons; he'd keep talking for months until the problem was resolved. Pastor Hu believes that when you focus on pastoring, those who make trouble will not last long. And when the Word of God is announced, the Holy Spirit will do the work of peace in the hearts of believers. After that, Pastor Hu will teach them how to properly manage the church.
He has tried this method several times, and it always works.
Elder Wang, who was often sent to "put out fires," encountered more difficult situations. When he entered a church with serious disputes, a group of people surrounded him on the second floor and forced him to comply with their demands, or they would throw him out of the window. "If it is good for the development of the Church, I will give you my consent; Or you should just throw me down!" In the face of the uncompromising elder Wang, the crowd dispersed.
Elder Wang said that he has a strong character and that he could put his life on the line for the sake of his faith. He once exhorted fellow students to attend theological training courses and even used a number of heart-piercing words such as "sycophancy" and "flattery" on that student.
In the face of these difficulties, Elder Wang always grasped a magic weapon: the altar. From the pulpit, he dared to preach God's Word with integrity, often pointing out the sins of believers. After some time, the rioting group pulled some people away from the church, and the church ministry gradually got on the right track. Slowly, those who followed noticed something was wrong, and most of them returned to the church.
Strife is a very troublesome problem in the church and can tear apart even a revived church. May there be more faithful and knowledgeable "firefighting" pastors in the Church, and may these pastors no longer have "firefighting" tasks in the future.
- Translated by Nicolas Cao