Here we were happily engaged in ministry, when unexpectedly, someone opposes us.
We don’t understand why, because the cause of Christ is so right, and we were so sincere in wanting to advance His kingdom. After the initial shock, we have examined our motives and behavior to make sure that our sinful behavior was not to blame. We recognize that we can often be to blame so we are open to that possibility.
Having examined ourselves, we make sure we have a Biblical foundation to our thinking. We remember the true enemy, Satan, can often deceive people into becoming our opponents. We recognize the inevitability of opposition. Opposition will occur on this side of heaven and will increase the nearer Christ’s return approaches.
Finally, we recognize the great opportunity for blessing opposition brings. What next? Call your District Representative!
Village Missions has in place a wonderful mechanism for helping those who serve with us if they experience opposition. They have at their disposal a couple who have years of ministry experience, who know the Village Missionary, and who know the church. They have been trained in conflict management. It is extremely important to them that the Village Missionary succeeds and that the cause of Christ is advanced.
Think of the advantages of bringing someone like a District Representative into a conflict as soon as possible. First, they can help you determine if you have been partly to blame. Perhaps you have a blind spot that they can help you discover. After all, you don’t want to be the cause of the problem, do you? Second, they can give wise counsel as to how to proceed next. Together, you can develop a plan of action. No one else will have such a hands-on knowledge of the situation.
Third, they can be a powerful ally in withstanding and overcoming the opposition. I know of one D.R. who insisted the church board take action against someone who was persecuting the Village Missionary. They didn’t like doing so (people in small communities do not like to confront problem people because they have to continue to live with them) but they did at the insistence of the D.R. The problem was largely resolved. The D.R. has enough authority as the representative of Village Missions to require appropriate behavior in a church’s relationship with a Village Missionary.
Fourth, a D.R. can move the Village Missionary, if necessary and if agreed upon by the Village Missionary. This is obviously a drastic step but sometimes it becomes necessary. I would not like to be the pastor of an independent church faced with having to find another church suddenly. We can take a Biblical stand knowing that we have another place to serve. Village Missions recognizes, very sadly indeed, that sometimes we have to move on to a church that wants to grow spiritually.
Next year Village Missions will celebrate sixty years of keeping country churches alive. The ministry of our District Representatives has been one of the chief reasons why God has so used this ministry to help nearly 1,000 churches since our beginning. Both church and Village Missionary have a mediator and counselor willing to help when problems arise.