Church Politics or Family Talking?

Challenge Central: a CBC devotional

By: Pastor Lars Janssen

“I don’t like church politics.”

Over the years, I’ve heard some people in our church family make this statement. I think I understand the sentiment behind the statement. It’s something like, “I don’t like the disagreements that occur in church life and leadership.” It’s very understandable not to like disagreements, but consider the implications of referring to church life and leadership as ‘church politics.’

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘politics’ as the art or science of government; concerned with guiding or influencing governmental policy or winning and holding control over a government. The sense behind this term, politics, is to convince others to do things my way by making rules and exercising authority. Is this an accurate reflection of church life and leadership? No, it isn’t.

The Apostle Paul pressed the Ephesian church leaders by saying, “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which He obtained with His own blood” (Acts 20:28). He also described church leaders as servants, stewards, the scum of the world, the refuse of all things, and fathers (see 1 Cor. 4 … “scum of the world, the refuse of all things” is a direct quote from verse 13).

The church is not a community to be governed through human politics. We are those who have been “obtained with his own blood” and each of us should grow to see the value in God’s blood-bought children. There is great value and joy in working together with God’s people. Psalm 133:1 gladly shouts, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”

C. S. Lewis wrote this about getting together with his friends:

“In a perfect Friendship this Appreciative Love is, I think, often so great and so firmly based that each member of the circle feels, in his secret heart, humbled before all the rest. Sometimes he wonders what he is doing there among his betters. He is lucky beyond desert to be in such company.” (C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves)

This kind of unity among Christians is precious beyond words—certainly beyond being described as ‘church politics.’ I’ve been in several church meetings lately and there has been joy in spending this time with my brothers and sisters. I sat beside Joel, Brenda, Jer, Alan and Wade. I sat across from Barb, Wayne, Christine, Ed, Gary, Andrew, and Casey. These are just some of the names of my friends in Christ—my brothers and sisters in Christ.

These meetings should never be moments of political maneuvering between government agents. These are opportunities for brothers and sisters to enjoy each other and work with our Brother, Jesus, to bring the Father glory.

This week, I challenge you to join Jesus in living out his prayer:

“I pray also for those who will believe in me through their [the Apostle’s] message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:20-21).

The church is no place for politics. We’re just family talking.

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