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10 Ways to Pick a Church Fight

For many years, I served as a consultant to churches and denominations, a role I relinquished when I became president of LifeWay over eight years ago. Part of our consultative process was interviewing church members.

Inevitably, I would hear issues of concern and issues among church members over which arguments took place.

My blog is a forum for many different voices in the world of Christian churches. But, in different posts, I have heard the same theme of disagreements among church members that I heard in my church consultations. You can see many of those comments in past blog posts.

My purpose in this post is not to offer my own assessment of each argument, just to point out common issues in many churches.

You will notice that I don’t mention biblical and theological arguments on this list. Those arguments are pervasive in other blogs, but they typically take place among pastors and theologians.

The following, however, are more common among the rank-and-file church members.

1. Worship and music style.

I do believe this long-standing battle is diminishing. But it’s still around, sometimes with intensity.

2. Volume of music in the services.

This issue is, of course, closely related to the first issue. It is, however, a battle unto itself in some churches.

3. Reasons why churches die.

There are many perspectives on this matter, and it often becomes a point of debate in declining churches. Members struggle to discern why their particular churches are declining.

4. Proper attire for church services.

I have never posted on this topic, but that has not stopped some pretty lively comments in posts that are tangentially related at best. I’m still debating whether or not I should give my ties to Goodwill.

5. Pastors’ salaries.

Though the discussion has been lively on posts of this topic, the majority of those commenting desire to see pastors have a better or more adequate income.

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thomrainer@churchleaders.com'
Thom S. Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources (LifeWay.com). Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and six grandchildren. He was founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism, and Church Growth at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His many books include Surprising Insights from the Unchurched, The Unexpected Journey, and Breakout Churches.