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Q2. The Courage to Confront

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Q2. Why is it so difficult for some church leaders to confront people? What fears in this regard does a leader face? How can confrontation and rebuke be a good thing? What happens when we refuse to confront when we should? 

It is difficult for some church leaders to confront people maybe because they fear of offending them and subsequently losing their membership.  Confrontation is avoided by some people because they are afraid of conflict.  However, confrontation and rebuke can be a good thing because if we never confront sin, we will not do people justice.  Even more, we would not be walking around in God's authority and checking each other sin so that we can grow and in turn help be vessels God can use to save others.  We don't want others blood on our hands. We don't want God to say "why didn't you go and minister to, confront so and so, pray for this person, tell this one about the reality of eternal damnation."

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  • 2 years later...
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Question 2


1. Church leaders don't want to be blamed


2. The fear of being blame if something go wrong


3. When you confront and rebuke in the right way, this help the leader to remain focus on his/her mission and goal.

4. When a leader refuse to confront when he should, there is tendency that such leader will lose his respect from his followers

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  • 1 year later...

it is difficult for church leaders to confront their congregation because they are elected by them and are expected to do the will of their members.  Churches are run by a majority of members who decide on certain business of the church.  Every denomination has bi-laws and rules that has nothing to do with the spiritual leadership of it's Pastor.  We forget or do not recognize that the church is the people of God who have been added  by Him once we become saved.  The church is not the building that we gather in to worship.  Likewise, a Pastor is chosen to direct the people in the way of the Lord.  His role is a spiritual one, but we seem to want to control what he does because we hired him to lead us as a Pastor.  When members are not doing the will of God it is the responsibility of the Pastor to confront them and to lead them back to the right path.  Of course we are more interested in doing our will, rather than God's will, so confrontation is a given.  God is not pleased with us when we do not take a stand for righteous and holiness.  We are not  to stand idly by while sin is being committed. We are suppose to draw souls to the throne of God and if confrontation is needed to do that, then that is what God expects us to do.  Jesus never backed down from his accusers and from the religious leaders who did not believe Him to be the son of God.  He fought them with scripture and they could not even argue their point!  They set traps for him in the public meeting places and still were not able to catch him saying or doing anything wrong.  Jesus was the most confrontational leader of his time and even thought they crucified him, they could never find any fault in him.  He never stood by and let anyone get away with sinning.. He was forgiving of those who asked for it and told them to go and sin no more.

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  • 4 years later...

Q2. Why is it so difficult for some church leaders to confront people?

What fears in this regard does a leader face?

How can confrontation and rebuke be a good thing?

What happens when we refuse to confront when we should?

Much has been said about the topic of confrontation.  Personally I feel there is confrontation and there is confrontation.

It is hard to confront someone.  Number one the church leaders do not necessarily know each member of their congregation personally.  A general confrontation about a subject is probably wiser than a personal confrontation, unless the Spirit leads differently.  Whichever way, it needs to be done in love.  

Confrontation and rebuke about a sin is very important. If it does not get handled then it is easy to think that it is ok to live in such a way.  If it is an issue of a sensitive nature it is always better not to approach the person alone.  

Confronting someone wrongly can cause a rift and can cause for the "victim' to never return  into fellowship.

Not confronting an issue can be like not removing a weed and before you know it that portion is overgrown by that "weed".


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  • 1 year later...

I have only seen confrontation done poorly. Suffice it to say that one's motive for confronting someone has to be very, very carefully analyzed. At times, the "confronter" is asserting himself, protecting his bruised ego, or lashing out at someone out of anger and even jealousy. This  confrontation is not done out of love, but out of a desire to preserve power, position and reputation.

To fear or delay confrontation implies humility and the ability to self-reflect. It's a good thing. 

It's interesting that Pastor Ralph assumes we don't confront as much as we should. Perhaps that's true, but in my experience, confrontation-like encounters occur far too often. I would have flipped the question to read: "What happens when we eagerly confront when we shouldn't!"

Confrontation isn't usually frontal. Most of the time it's oblique or even done behind someone's back. I suppose you could say that this isn't true confrontation -- you'd be correct -- but this is the guise which confrontation often takes.

Poor confrontation can blindside the "victim." Rather than settle something privately the leader immediately turns to a public forum, using shaming as a way to force compliance. Many years ago, I watched an academic Christian leader destroy the confidence of a young man who dared to disagree with his premises. I'm certain the younger man has never forgotten what was done to him in that closed door meeting. It would have been easy to simply pull the young man aside and talk to him one-on-one, but the academic wanted to assert himself in such a way that everyone understood he was a big deal to be feared. Sadly, I think it worked.

The use of public prayer as a venue for confrontation is particularly disturbing. Recently I heard a prayer in which the leader demanded God help those who "weren't fully in" on his project. I've also heard a person praying that the "timid" be "released" to engage in worship styles and behaviors that the leader wanted. Note that these people were asking, perhaps tongue-in-cheek, for the Holy Spirit to guide or change other people. 

I have to say that I have never seen church confrontations done well. Usually, the person on the receiving end of confrontation slips away and is never seen again. I've also seen -- perhaps this is what Pastor Ralph is thinking about? -- people not disciplined who clearly should have been, for example, a member of the board/vestry/elders who was having numerous affairs which leaders overlook because he's a big donor.

It must be very difficult to be a pastor or leader of a church which is factionalized and back-biting, particularly if that pastor takes his flock's spiritual formation and/or sanctification seriously. In such a situation, confrontation is fraught with downstream social effects that distract from the purity of his motive. It's understandable that pastors in fractious churches decline to rebuke and confront as they will personally bear the brunt of such obedience to their calling. I do feel compassion for them.




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