July 20

As we continue to move through our elder selection process, we are at the stage of completing, signing and returning the affirmation forms. Remember there is a box in the foyer for those to be returned, and the form can also be filled out electronically and returned to Chuck Hummel at this email address: [email protected]

Each of our committee members, Chuck Hummel and Fred Lima, have stood before our church family the last two Sundays and implored us to have a good participation in this effort by all who have been baptized and our members of South Fork. I hope that if you haven’t done that important act you will take care of that this Sunday. Remember the deadline to return the affirmation forms is this Wednesday, July 23rd. And be sure and plan on being a part of the special Sunday assembly on July 27th when our new elders are installed as shepherds here at South Fork.

One of the issues that confronts elders and shepherds of God’s church is, well, confrontation and conflict. This Sunday I want to revisit the conflict management chart that I’ve shared at times in the past. Dr. Randy Lowery, president of Lipscomb University, shared this chart in conflict management seminars offered through ACU years ago. You will see a copy of that chart in the sermon outline on this Family Page.

To say that we will always experience tension, disagreement and conflict in our lives seems to be a massive understatement. One of the great blessings of the church is our diversity, allowing us to be able to minister to all types of folks going through all kinds of struggles. But that diversity also brings out our differences in more challenging and difficult ways as well.

This Sunday I’d like for us to consider the experience of Jesus recorded in John 8:1-11 from this perspective.

You’ll note in the sermon outline chart that there are several different approaches to handling conflict, depending on the importance of the issue v. the relationship. You’ll also note Scripture references that give examples of when Jesus or others employed that particular strategy in dealing with the conflict they were facing in that instance.

Though it sounds odd, some conflict can be avoided, when neither the issue nor the relationship is important. When the issue is of such great importance that you risk the relationship, you confront. When the opposite is true, and the issue pales in significance to the relationship, then you accommodate. When both issue and relationship are somewhat important, you seek a compromise.

Compromise can be the right approach, but with compromise, as you know, everyone gives a little, and no one gets everything they want. Which is okay, unless you reach a situation where you really can’t budge on the issue, but you don’t want to lose or risk losing any part of the relationship either. What then?

That’s the call to come up with a collaborative solution. That takes creativity and brainstorming, and being open to coming up with and considering possible solutions that may not appear right away. And that takes us to the early church in Acts 6, as the new church family faced their first big internal conflict. And it takes us to Jesus and that difficult, seemingly impossible scene in John 8.

Bill Allen

Dr. Bill Allen preached at South Fork from 2005 to 2015. He received a Bachelors degree in Bible from Oklahoma Christian in 1978, a Masters in Bible from Abilene Christian (ACU) in 1988, and a Doctor of Ministry from ACU in 1992. He now preaches at the West Erwin Church of Christ in Tyler, Texas.

Leave a Reply