The discussions between my former group and another contracted pathology group had been stagnating for several weeks. We were dealing with a prickly issue of billing and reimbursement and we agreed upon a face to face meeting. My senior partner turned to me and declared, “Lets get a team together!” He charged me with assembling a team that would put forward the best face for our professional group. The people I selected included my laboratory manager who had an M.B.A. and Ph.D. in economics, a pathologist who was renowned for his skill in creating stunning computer presentations, another pathologist with a national reputation as an expert in transfusion medicine and organizing and managing blood banks, and the director of our sales and marketing, who had overseen the growth of our laboratory clients from one hospital to nine hospitals with a customer base that stretched from Santa Barbara to San Diego. I knew the technical skills and personality strengths of each participant and was confident in their abilities. One week later, our team presented a compelling presentation and we successfully resolved the conflict.
Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty.
Acts 6:3 (ESV)
Since that successful meeting, I have been involved with a team charged with resolving an intra-church conflict. It would be logical to apply the same principles I utilized with my previous conflict resolution in business, but does the Bible give any instruction and wisdom for this? In the above passage from the Book of Acts, the nascent Christian Church dealt with an early crisis when a complaint reached its leaders that a dispute had arisen between Greek gentile believers accusing Jewish believers that their widows were being neglected with daily provisions. It is instructive to see who the Church selected to help resolve this conflict and oversee a smooth transition. If I were picking a team, I would focus upon their professional qualifications. I would pick a colleague skilled in the art of negotiation, such as an attorney, someone with a financial background to facilitate the purchase and distribution of provisions, and perhaps a widow, someone who could identify with the needs of the Greek widows.
But God directed the Church to pick seven men of good reputation, wisdom, and full of the Holy Spirit. It is a reminder to me that in dealing with conflicts within the Church, we must first choose godly men and women who are filled and led by the Holy Spirit. Professional credentials are important but the spiritual state of one’s heart is what God is seeking.
Getting a team together to resolve conflicts within the Church must first focus upon the spiritual maturity of its members. God’s Wisdom through the Bible never ceases to astound me!
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.