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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

02 Dec '13

When elephants fight the grass gets trampled

Posted by T.J. Addington
It is a saying from Congo and it is about what happens when leaders get into disputes with one another. Who gets hurt when leaders fight? The people they are supposed to be leading and this is nowhere more evident than when there is conflict among leaders in the local church.

Divided congregations are almost always a reflection of divided boards and/or staff. Fractures in leadership will spill over into the church body. It may take time but it will happen. And it can be from dysfunction among staff or boards.

In one situation where I provided counsel, a large church literally exploded when the fractures within the senior staff became public. For years it was hidden but when it finally came into the light sides were taken, offences were taken on and the end result was a competing church started, others leaving in discouragement and what will be years of healing ahead. When elephants fight the grass gets trampled.

It is no different when there is ongoing tension between the senior pastor and the board and it can be the fault of either party. Those tensions do not go unnoticed in the congregation because people can read attitudes, words spoken and words not spoken. Given enough time those divides become larger and more difficult to heal and eventually the conflict escalates and who gets hurt in the process? Members of the congregation who had nothing to do with the issues, who have little context for what happened but who got trampled in the process. When elephants fight the grass gets trampled.

This is why it is so critical in the local church that there is unity, clarity, alignment and healthy relationships between leaders. It does not mean that they cannot disagree but it does mean that they know how to disagree agreeably and guard the spiritual climate of the congregation. When leaders fight someone gets hurt. It is also why it is so important to have a board and staff covenant that spells out how members work together in health rather than dishealth. 

Don't allow the grass to be trampled in your church!