A Failure to Protect
An Important Message to Church Leaders on
The Danger of Doing Nothing
The BP Oil Spill
According to the National Wildlife Federation, an estimated 170 million gallons of oil flooded into the Gulf of Mexico after the explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig in April, 2010. Most of us can recall the immediate damage that occurred: dead marine life, shores contaminated, businesses ruined, and much more. Beyond this, "the long-term damage caused by the oil and the nearly 2 million gallons of chemical dispersants used on the spill may not be known for years."
The BP Oil Spill that NEVER Happened
Do you know that BP has the same kind of deep water oil rigs in Canada? Do you know why the widespread destruction that occurred in the Gulf will likely never happen there? The answer is, since 1976 the Canadian government has required that each exploratory well also have "a relief well ready in case of a blowout." The purpose of the relief well is "to significantly reduce the damage to the environment that would result if an oil blowout continued to release oil ... unchecked."
After the Gulf explosion occurred, it took BP some four months to drill a relief well and cap the flow of oil. What is the difference between Canada and the U.S. regarding oil rig explosions? One country was prepared. The other was not. It's that simple.
unspoiled Canadian beach
The Analogy is Easy to See
The analogy to churches is all too clear. There is and will continue to be a striking difference in terms of outcome between those churches that are prepared to deal with conflict and those that are not. Clean-up for churches that are impacted by painful conflict is similar to the clean-up after an oil spill. It's messy, it's time-consuming, and the damage will be long-lasting if not irreparable. Would that more churches heed Benjamin Franklin's words of over two centuries ago. "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
Questions for Church Leaders
If you are a church leader, here are some important questions and considerations. Are you proactively protecting your flock? Do you have something in place that will prevent an explosion? You don't only have to take your cue from disasters such as BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion. Look to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Question: When did He devise His plan of salvation for us, before or after we personally sinned against Him?
The answer is before! God put his plan of salvation into place before we ever needed it. His grace is not only greater than all of our sins. It preceded them and was there waiting for us at the precise moment of our need. What a pattern to follow!
Yet when do most churches actually begin to address conflict, before or after it begins to do damage? The answer, sadly, is after. The question therefore becomes, if God devised a plan to deal with our conflict with Him before it emerged, why aren't we doing the same within our congregations? We all know or should know that interpersonal conflict is inevitable. Yet to do nothing, to sit on the tracks of life with our backs turned away from this inevitable danger ignores the apostle Paul's charge for leaders to protect, not only from without, but from within (Acts:20:28-31). God took a proactive approach regarding our conflict with Him. And what a difference that made in each of our lives! As a pastor or church leader, you should do the same for those entrusted to your care! Contact Dr. Newberger to learn more by calling 888-887-1178.