One of the greatest dangers in sharing responsibilities in church leadership is that it could cause factions in the church. Such factions can hinder the work of God in our midst. Perhaps the chief cause for factions is disloyalty to the present leadership. No worker has been chosen who has not demonstrated a loyalty to the leadership under whom God has placed him, but disloyalty can develop over a period of time if certain attitudes are allowed to find a place of habitation in the spirit of a person with responsibilities. No one wakes up one morning and suddenly finds himself disloyal. Disloyalty is an attitude that develops through various stages before it fully manifests itself. If this attitude is checked at these early stages, it may never become a problem. The importance sharing some of these principles of developing disloyalty is not that we suspect anyone of disloyalty, but that you can use these as a personal thermometer in checking out the attitudes of your own heart. Disloyalty sounds like a terrible word, but it progresses through some not-so-terrible-sounding stages.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF DISLOYALTY
Philippians 2:20-21 – “For I have no man like-minded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s”
Many times, in religious circles there is a maneuvering for recognition. This is caused by an independent spirit. An independent spirit is caused by a lack of brokenness end submission to the will of the leadership and the needs of the body. An independent spirit is caused by an attitude of personal ambition, he will have no love for the flock of God. He will not have a servant’s heart. A minister must be first of all a servant.
When you are ambitious in regard to your ministry it is very easy to do things with the motivation of receiving praise from men (Matthew 6:1-21). If our relationship with God is weak, we can easily shift our desires from receiving the approval of God to receiving recognition from the leadership. When this is the case we have a whole crop of young ministry performing for an audience and not ministering to the people of God. They begin promoting themselves rather than the Gospel of Peace in order that they might receive personal recognition.
When a man begins to think too highly of himself and his own ministry, he begins to think that his suggestions are the best suggestions. He begins to yield himself to attitudes of spiritual pride. As a result, he tries to impress the leadership with his wonderful ideas. Not only does this close him off to others around him, but it results in his own unwillingness to listen to the suggestions of others. In so doing his own creativity suffers loss. Often times a person cannot see with an Incomplete picture of the facts. Often times, therefore, his tremendous ideas must be set aside.
When the leadership rejects the ideas of this individual, be takes it as a personal affront. His spiritual pride has been injured. He feels that his whole ministry has been rejected and misunderstood. He begins to speak lies in his heart in regard to himself and others, particularly those in authority
Psalms 15:2 – “He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.”
Proverbs 25:19 – “Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.”
In himself he must now justify his own independent spirit. The leadership has rejected his ideas on this occasion so he feels that there must be something wrong with the judgment and discernment of the leadership. His spiritual pride is at stake. He begins to use his own ideas as a criterion for the judgment of all the decisions of the oversight. As a result he develops a critical spirit toward the leadership.
Galatians 6:3-“For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, be deceiveth himself,”
Because of the mote in his own eye, this person can no longer exercise right judgment. He begins to develop a competitive spirit in regard to his leaders and at times must distort facts to feed his ego. By distorting the views of the leadership and contrasting them with his own views he is able to gain a measure of recognition from others around him.
I Samuel 22:2 – “And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men. Because of his fear of failure by lack of recognition from the leadership, he begins to gather to himself others who are discontent and dissatisfied with the decisions of the leadership. In this way he gathers disciples unto himself who will help him feed his ego and thirst for recognition. This one soon begins to stir up discontent that becomes a challenge to the church leadership
Gal. 5:10 “I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.”
Proverbs 26:27-28- “Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.”
“A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.” He now begins to feed this group with the things that he has fed himself upon for so long. He accuses those over him of insensitivity to true spiritual authority (namely himself). He gossips against the leadership in progressive degrees of severity. Ke begins by speaking agianst those faults in the leadership that are obvious to all and not necessarily related to spiritual qualifications. He then moves to more obscure areas. Those around him believe him because he was right about the other things.
He is encouraged by the support he receives on the areas of those minor problems he has emphasized. He feels he is gaining true spiritual authority. At this point it is finally noticed by the leadership, because certain things are beginning to come to public view. It is likely that the leadership will reject this one as a disloyal follower. In doing so the people who have been following him are forced to choose sides in the conflict.
In justifying his position, he finds it necessary to lay extreme emphasis on those minor grievances which all agree are true. People are hence encouraged to make a decision on minor issues, not really understanding the heart of the problem. We now have a splinter group that begins to go its own way. It breaks off from the local leadership. We have a new church that was birthed in disloyalty or rebellion. A ministry that begins in rebellion, ends in rebellion.
We have seen how disloyalty develops and ultimately manifests itself in separation and rejection. Disloyalty is not always easy to see externally. This is why many times disloyalty in the early stages may go unchecked. Dis loyalty that goes unchecked will ultimately bring division to the work of God. It is important that we as individuals use these tests on ourselves. If we judge ourselves, we will not be judged. If we catch ourselves in the early stages, we will maintain a proper balance in our character. As we work together with the people of God, let us endeavor “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3)