Mediation, Church Splits, House Church, and Unity

Shannon has been away from his blog for a while, but his most recent post was part 1 about Conflict in the Church. I've been mulling it over for a while before posting a response.

My main concern is: "How do you insure that you have a neutral third party?"

I think of the church plant in Lansing. We had a church split very early on in the church plant. To simplify things, it came as a result of the debate on whether we were to be an association of houses churches with a large gathering or whether we were going to be one church with small groups.

Now, we can all tell which one is the normal one and the format of church that most people are comfortable with.

Prior to planting the church, I had assembled a group of advisors. They were all men that I respected very much, but they were also men that had invested their lives in the style of church that is different than the one that I felt called to plant. There really wasn't anyone around that I knew of to get advice from.

When the conflict initiated, I debated on pulling them together to help us through it. Maybe I should've done that, but I chose not to because I feared that they would make me choose the path that God wasn't calling me to.

Instead, I just stepped down and left the churches. I felt it was better to just stop doing anything in regards to that church than to do something that was against my conscience. However, the rest of the people in the church that I was most directly involved with didn't want me to step down and wanted to do church the way I felt we were called to. That was the church format they signed on to in the beginning.

I wish it wouldn't have come to becoming a church split, but I don't think the other side would budge. I do know that I wouldn't budge. I'm sure he felt that he was called to do what he was doing. And I know that I was called to do what I was doing. If there was ever a time in my life where I felt called to do something, it was moving to Lansing to plant that church.

Looking back, I feel that if we had consulted an outside group for mediation we would've just ended up being another sanctuary church. There would really have been no reason to plant another sanctuary church in the Lansing area.

Maybe I'm wrong in thinking what the counseling would've been prior to receiving, but I do know that I am extremely happy with the way things turned out.

When doing experimental church methods that most people are against, who would you go to for mediation?

Watch out for the potholes.