Contentions Among You
1 Corinthians 1:11
For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
One of the greatest pressures that leaders must deal with is the contention among those they lead. The sad part about contention is that it hurts the local church's cause and ability to produce to peak ability. Many churches could be much larger and more influential in their community if the people of the church didn't allow contention between each other. The sad part about most contention is the pettiness of it. Most contention in a local church or home has nothing to do with right and wrong, but with pettiness that really don't matter.
Paul dealt with contention in the church of Corinth. There is no wonder that this church saw contention because it was a backslidden fleshly church. Anytime a church is filled with fleshliness, you will find it struggling with contention. The key to the verse above is “you.” Paul said, there are contentions among you. If this church had removed the “you,” there would have been no contentions. The contentions occurred because they let themselves become the focus instead of letting Christ be their focus. My experience in church work shows me there are five causes of contention that I would like to point out to you.
Competition between each other is the first cause of contention. When people are competing about who is the best, you will find contention among you. Contention will occur when staff are competing about who is the closest to the pastor. The LORD’s work is not a competition about who is the closest to the pastor or the best Christian, but it is a team effort, working together to reach the lost for Christ.
Comparison of each other is the second cause of contention. “I’m better than them” is not healthy to the LORD’s work. Everyone is a sinner, and to compare one with the other is not wise. You must remember that everyone can contribute, so everyone is important to the cause that the church is trying to accomplish. Never compare individuals with individuals, and never compare yourself with others and contention will cease.
Carrying feelings on one’s shoulder is the third cause of contention. Wherever work is being done, there will be friction that can easily cause contention because of hurt feelings. You cannot carry your feelings on your shoulder. It is very wearisome for pastors to have to deal with hurt feelings of fleshly believers. Your feelings would not matter if you didn't make yourself the central focus of everything. You could relieve your pastor of much pressure by not carrying your feelings on your shoulder.
Serving You instead of Christ and others is the fourth cause of contention. When you are concerned with you, you will always cause contention with others. When you take you out of the equation, you will be able to get along and serve Christ with others. You can take you out of the equation by making Christ the focus of all that you do.
Crossing lines of responsibilities is the fifth cause of contention. Putting your two cents worth of opinion on something that is not your area only causes contention. Stay focused on what you are supposed to do and you will never have time to cause contention by meddling in another’s area of responsibility.