Big Idea: The kingdom of God can be advanced through the successful resolution of conflict in the church. There is room for zealous and driven commitment to mission that is unwilling to crush God’s people in the fulfillment of that mission. God calls us to love those we know and those whom we don’t by staying focused on His redemptive purposes.
I. What’s the fight about?
A. Understanding the story.
B. Mission matters.
C. People matter.
II. What’s going on today?
A. The problem with people over mission.
B. The problem with mission over people.
C. Finding balance.
D. What does that mean to us?
1) Have you ever seen or been a part of a sharp disagreement in church? What do you think the issue was? What do you think drives most church conflict?
2) Which way do you tend to lean, more toward focusing on the mission or focusing on people? Have you always had the focus you have now or has that changed over time? If it has changed, why do suppose that is? Was Jesus’ focus on mission or on people? Did Jesus stop what he was doing if someone didn’t like it?
3) Have you had a Barnabas type person pour into you at some point in your life? Talk about what that meant to you. Where would you be today without folks like that?
4) What happens in churches that are so concerned with keeping the peace that they never make hard decisions? What happens to a church that fears that some people might get hurt more than it fears disobeying God?
5) How do you define unity? How do you know it’s there? Have you seen “don’t ask, don’t tell” or “no talk” rules in an organization? How did that impact that group?
6) How do you decide when to break fellowship? Do Christians use God’s name to market decisions that maybe God is not blessing? What is the problem with the bonds of fellowship being too strong (is that possible)? What are the dangers connect with the bonds of fellowship being too weak?
7) What happens in your heart when there is a tense conversation? Do you run to or from conflict? Are you willing to have some hard conversations about really important matters if it is what our kids need?