It began as an innocuous Twitter survey. But then it blew up.
A lot of church members and leaders were eager to share about fights, schisms and conflicts in their congregations. They were likewise eager to point out the absurdity of these issues. There were the ones we've heard often: temperature in the worship center, color of carpet, order of worship and color of walls.
The fights shown below, however, are a bit unusual. Indeed, most of them are downright absurd. I picked 25 of my "favorites." They are listed in no particular order. The parenthetical commentary is my own.
1. Argument over the appropriate length of the worship pastor's beard (I think I saw a verse in Scripture that indicated it is to be no more than 1.5 inches longer than the pastor's beard.)
2. Fight over whether or not to build a children's playground or to use the land for a cemetery (I'm dying to know the resolution of this one.)
3. A deacon accusing another deacon of sending an anonymous letter, and deciding to settle the matter in the parking lot (The church could have sold tickets to this event and raised a lot of money.)
4. A church dispute of whether or not to install restroom stall dividers in the women's restroom (I'm calling unfair on this one. The men should have their stall dividers too.)
5. A church argument and vote to decide if a clock in the worship center should be removed (I think this one is a timely argument.)
6. A 45-minute heated argument over the type of filing cabinet to purchase: black or brown; 2, 3, or 4 drawers (This one is an official cabinet meeting of the church leadership.)
7. A fight over which picture of Jesus to put in the foyer (I just want to know who took the pictures.)
8. A petition to have all church staff clean shaven (No church planters are allowed.)
9. A dispute over whether the worship leader should have his shoes on during the service (I vote for shoes, shirts and pants.)
10. A big church argument over the discovery that the church budget was off 10 cents—Someone finally gave a dime to settle the issue. (I have to admit this issue is 10 times more important than the church missing a penny.)
11. A dispute in the church because the Lord's Supper had cran/grape juice instead of grape juice (Of course it should be grape juice. It's right there in Hezekiah 4:11.)
12. Business meeting arguments about whether the church should purchase a weed eater or not. It took two business meetings to resolve (Wow. This fight was really whacky.)
13. Arguments over what type of green beans the church should serve (I could have resolved this conflict quickly: none.)
14. Two different churches reported fights over the type of coffee. In one of the churches, they moved from Folgers to a stronger Starbucks brand. In the other church, they simply moved to a stronger blend. Members left the church in the latter example (Perhaps they started a new church: The Right Blend Fellowship.)
15. Major conflict when the youth borrowed a crock-pot that had not been used for years (I bet it was a bunch of crocky old adults.)
16. An argument on whether the church should allow deviled eggs at the church meal (Only if it's balanced with angel food cake for dessert.)
17. An argument over who has the authority to buy postage stamps for the church (The members were licking their wounds over this issue.)
18. A disagreement over using the term "potluck" instead of "pot blessing" (I get it! The concept of luck contradicts the theology of a sovereign God. This issue is very serious. Good luck trying to resolve it.)
19. A church member was chastised because she brought vanilla syrup to the coffee server. It looked too much like liquor. (Beth Moore confessed she was the culprit who brought the syrup. Don't you know, Beth, we Baptists cannot have vanilla syrup at anytime? Chocolate is fine though.)
20. An argument in church over who has access to the copy machine (I think a calendar should be made where every church member has at least five minutes access to the copy machine each year. You can have a business meeting to vote on each five-minute increment.)
21. Some church members left the church because one church member hid the vacuum cleaner from them. It resulted in a major fight and split. (Thus the Second Electrolux Church was born.)
22. An argument over whether to have gluten-free communion bread or not (I thought gluttony was a sin.)
23. A dispute over whether the church should allow people to wear black T-shirts, since black is the color of the devil (Are you sure he's not red? That's what I've heard.)
24. A fight over whether or not to sing "Happy Birthday" each week (I've got an idea. Alternate it with the doxology.)
25. An argument over whether the fake, dusty plants should be removed from the podium (Just give them a little water. They should be fine.)
Yes. These issues are silly; many are absurd. But they are all distractions from what we should be doing in our churches. In that sense, they are really great distractions from the Great Commission.
Let me hear your stories!
Thom S. Rainer is the president of LifeWay Christian Resources. For the original article, visit thomrainer.com.
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