Monday, January 16, 2006

Dealing with those people who resist...

(Reflections on the article by Berit Kjos entitled Spirit-led or Purpose Driven: Part 4 Dealing with resisters)

"When a human body is out of balance we call that disease.... Likewise, when the body of Christ becomes unbalanced, disease occurs.... Health will occur only when everything is brought back into balance. The task of church leadership is to discover and remove growth-restricting diseases and barriers so that natural, normal growth can occur." [Rick Warren, 1995, The Purpose Driven Church, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan]

"We’ve come across numerous references in the Purpose-Driven literature to a concept called 'abandonment.' It is a Peter Drucker concept that has to do with businesses abandoning parts of their business that don’t make money. In the private sector (churches) it translates into churches abandoning projects that don’t produce pre-defined 'results' (the measurable kind, 'outcomes,' etc.). This also means abandoning people who don’t go along with the flow — the 'laggards' who won’t participate in the transformation. A church split is seen as a good thing, in that it gets rid of those people who are blocking progress towards church restructuring." [Lynn D. Leslie et. al., 2004,The Pied Pipers of Purpose, Conscience Press, Ravanna, Ohio]

What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the noutains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray.
Matthew 18:12-13

I am rather sick of mentioning Rick Warre again, as I am sure those of us who research on his books and his actions are. However, the whole idea of dealing with resisters in churches or ministry as surfaced recently for me. It is thus that I would by necessity mention Rick Warren again.

Berit Kjos, while reviewing the Purpose Driven phenomenon, has unearthed the diabolical way in which Rick Warren and company deal with 'resisters' who resist the ministry's direction, thus 'impeding the progress of the church'. As can be seen from the quotes provided above, as well as the rest of the main article by Berit Kjos, those who resist are often marginalized and even thrown out of the church.

Therefore, in ministry, how does Scripture mandate we function when we come across people who resist the ministry's or church's focus? From my research into the Purpose Driven phenomenon, I am definitely adverse to using the same management techniques that Rick Warren uses. One of the things which the Holy Spirit has taught me through this time of testing, which occurred partly due to my former church embracing the Purpose Driven phenomenon, is the value of each individual believer in Christ. As in the parable of the lost sheep in Mt. 18:12-13, each individual believer is to be loved, treasured and cared for by the undershepherds. Thus, I reject on biblical grounds Warren's idea of removing the 'resisters' to the church's or ministry's vision.

Since this is the case, how then should we go about fulfilling the vision that God has given us? In the case of a person's enemies, he should pray to the Lord (Prov. 16:7) and the Lord will make him have peace with him. However, in the case of people who just don't have the vision but are actively serving God in other areas, we should not force what we believe is the church's or ministry's vision on them. We can share with them, but it is God alone who will convict them if He so wishes. In fact, if the vision is really from God, God will do all the necessary work so that you do not have to fight everyone in order to accomplish what the Lord has tell you to do. With regards to ministry, we can characterize people according to whether they have the similar vision as us in order to ask them to work alonside us, but never to condemn nor to remove those who 'resist' the vision; it should be optional for them.

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