A bad past experience in the church can keep people sitting on the sidelines for years.
- They might refuse to serve again.
- They might close themselves to true fellowship with others.
- They might even stop meeting with the church altogether.
When that happens, we all lose out for the church “grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (Eph. 4:16).
We can try to help a person work through a bad experience, but usually it requires much prayer and patient waiting until the person is ready to let it go and get involved again. Learning to trust again, healing, and the regaining of confidence, all take time through the application of God’s grace and power.
Avoid These Effects by Seeking to Prevent Bad Experiences
Rather than constantly having to put out fires, work at preventing bad experiences.
1) Disagreement with policy, personality, or politics in the church that results in negative conflict
Decisions must be made by leaders and change must be introduced. People will not always like what is presented to them. Often what tears people down and leaves them feeling burnt by the situation, however, is not the decision that had to be made, but the way it was handled. Let’s exercise integrity in all we do, yielding to the Spirit so His fruit governs how we act and react (Gal. 5:22-23). Perhaps some of the following links will help:
2) Discouragement because of frustration, boredom, or chaos that results in disillusionment or failure
This could be a result of not serving in the right place. When people do not serve in ways that fit their gifting and personality, the potential for problems increases. Perhaps some of the following links will help:
This could also be a result of not being effectively trained to serve in that area of ministry. Perhaps some of the following links will help:
Realistically, we must admit that we will not always be able to prevent conflict. We will not always be able to prevent people from experiencing failure in their ministries. We can, however, promote an atmosphere of true community and unity in our churches and ministry organizations that provides a safe climate for working through the disagreements and discouragements.