Sunday, 6 January 2008

Meat in the sandwich

Sometimes (often?) the minister is in the middle of a dispute between different parties in the church. It could be two people who've had a spat & aren't talking. Or groups with different ideas and visions for where the church should be heading. Or whatever.
In that situation, the minister can end up being the meat in the sandwich.
Ray Galea used to say to me "you're not on either side of an argument. You're on Jesus' side. Your role is to help everyone to be more like Jesus."
He's right. Only thing is - you end up being the meat in the sandwich. You end up challenging both sides in different ways. But neither side thinks you're on "their" side, and that means you must be on the "other" side. So everyone wants a piece of you. And it leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
I've been chatting with David Jones what to do in that kind of situation. Lots of times there's not way out. You just have to cop the hammering from both sides, and keep going. God willing, because you're challenging both sides to be more godly, things'll pan out in the long run. But it might take a while. and in the meantime, you're getting hammered from both ends.
Maybe that's why Paul had to encourage Timothy to "correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience"...? (2 Tim 4:2)

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