You’ve heard the one about the poison Halloween candy, right? That guy who knows a guy who’s cousin got candy with razor blades in it? Well, sorry to burst your candy bubble, but those are urban legends.

It doesn’t take much to divide people over something, does it? Throw in an almost believable story with a few truish-sounding factoids and enough doubt can make anything possible.

Just like the discussion about whether or not Christians should celebrate Halloween, it doesn’t take much to cause division in your church. While we should try and champion truth over feelings in our doctrines, we should also practice a healthy sense of grace, bearing with one another in the small things.

However, if you still want to create division in your church overnight, go ahead and pop these little caramel nuggets laced with cyanide and you’ll see factions form overnight that would make this current election look civilized.

Never Talk About Your Mission, Vision, and Values

I mean, why would you? Having a unified idea of what success looks like for your church is sooooooo corporate. This is a church, not a business, after all. We actually prefer chaos and a lack of direction. This will get us all nice and individualized real quick.

And I swear, the next person that says the word “brand” or “marketing” is going to find themselves excommunicated faster than Rob Bell can say “Can’t we all just go to heaven?”

Allow Your Staff Culture to Create Itself

Never try to get your staff to agree on how to disagree. That would defeat the purpose of disagreeing! Most people prefer to live in a culture where they get to say whatever they want and no one gets to tell them they’re wrong. I mean, consequences are for suckers, am I right?

Let the staff just do what they do, and staff members who can’t handle the heat will just weed themselves out. There’s probably a 30% chance we won’t end up with a group of identical personalities and yes men…

Practice Negativity

If someone has a complaint, by all means, let them vent. Let them tell you how terrible the pastor is, especially if you agree! It really helps to validate them by agreeing with their assessment of an entire ministry and its leader from their one hour per week evaluation. We’re just being honest, right?

I mean, surely no one expects you to forsake your feelings? That would contradict the widely-practiced doctrine of Sola Feels. Luthor would roll over in his grave.

Make Decisions in a Bubble, Then Hand Them Down Suddenly

Look, your people are probably too busy to be able to help you with those big decisions. So just make the call, then go tell everyone what the whole church is going to do. This tactic is especially effective when changing the official position of your church on a theological matter or current issue.

Don’t worry about telling them change is coming either, unless you want to do one of those really cool cryptic Facebook updates like “Big changes are coming this Sunday…” People love to guess at those. Letting them squirm all week before the big reveal on Sunday almost forces all emotions about the change itself to be positive!

Never Talk About How Money is Spent

Hey, people have their own money to worry about. You just keep telling them that if they keep giving their money to the church, you’ll promise real hard to be a good steward of it.

Don’t worry about posting your budget or talking about big expenses. There’s a reason they hired you and one of those reasons is because they trust you blindly. Besides, no one has ever given them a reason NOT to trust churches with money. You’re golden.

Of course, no one wants to see their church divide over anything.

I know when I’ve been part of a church division, it is ugly, painful, and often does nothing for the name of Christ in the public eye except defame it. If you don’t want division, try doing the opposite of what was said here.

Have you ever been part of a church split or seen people leave over these issues? What have I left out? Sound off in the comments.

Don’t forget to pick up my Church Email Checklist that can help you write emails to your people that get opened and read!


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