When Life Happens … Prepare to Fight!

Even spiritual people can be in conflict with each other.

At Northeast Christian Church, we call our small groups "Life Groups." It's a great title.

In Life Groups we "do life together."

Life change happens best in Life Groups.

Life Groups get involved in real life by serving our community.

And … well, sometimes life happens in Life Groups.

Participation in a small group is mostly a positive and rewarding experience, but let's face it, small groups are often fraught with conflict, tension, and problems. Small groups are, by nature, made up of an assortment of people with different backgrounds, personalities, experiences, and even beliefs. Because of this, they are going to face conflict. Put any ten people in a room together, even the best ten people you know, and they will eventually face some conflict and tension.

Some might be saying, "But the small groups we're talking about are Christian small groups. They're supposed to be spiritual." That brings up a couple points we should discuss.

First, conflict is not necessarily evil. Spiritual people can be in conflict with one another, even angry with one another, without sinning. The Lord is slow to anger (Numbers 14:18), yet He does get angry with us. He is in relationship with us, and anger is an emotion that is often involved in relationship. The Old Testament records God's anger with those He loved over and over again. However, we are told, "in your anger do not sin" (Psalm 4:4; Ephesians 4:26), so as a leader, you must use discernment to know the difference between conflict, anger, and sin. Deal with conflict to avoid sin. Deal directly with sin. Did Jesus ever have conflict with His disciples? Yes, often, it seems, yet that group is the prototype for all Christian groups. It is the way the conflict is handled that is important. ...

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