Dear Ministry Health,
I appreciate receiving your Ministry Health: Support and Resources for Pastors and Christian Ministry Professionals – they always have some good “food for thought”.
I just read “Don’t Kill the Dragons – Tame Them!” (Ministry Health article #103) and I think I understand the very helpful insight, e.g. that we in the Western world are too quick to “conquer” and expect the prize rather than confront the problem, work with it and use that growing experience to help us grow.
But my thoughts, especially as I think about “dragons”, is that
oftentimes Satan is pictured as a dragon, as well as those who “walk in the ways of Satan”. These should not be tamed, but destroyed, not with “might of ours” (“A Mighty Fortress…”) but with the Word of God and the Truth from God’s Word.
When we’re dealing with differences of opinion, or those who for whatever reason might be “alligators” in our parishes – yes, “tame them”, “jump into the fire” with God’s wisdom and guidance with the goal of “winning them over” – but when it’s clearly a matter of truth or error / when the “dragon” seeks to draw us away from Christ and His Word; or has the potential to draw others away – we must use the “sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God” (Eph. 6) to slay the dragon – there comes a time when “taming” isn’t an option.
Wouldn’t you agree?
Thanks for your kind words regarding Ministry Health.
You are absolutely right re: your reflections on Dragons. My intent, as you properly understood, was to associate the “dragons” with conflict in general and other challenges along our ministry journey.
Of course, in the battle with the ultimate Dragon, Satan, it is a battle to the death–the first and second death. Thank God the war’s already won through Christ’s death and resurrection! With His power we can battle victoriously as we seek God’s power to slay that “Old Evil Foe” to his death.
I suppose the trickiest part of dealing with the “dragon” is when some
individuals lacking discernment impulsively ascribe something to Satan and, without knowing it, could actually be opposing God! In such cases, perhaps Gamaliel’s advice, “Consider carefully what you intend to do to these men” (Acts 5:33 NIV) is most important.
Sometimes neither killing or battling the dragon is in order. In Gamaliel’s case, He just gave it to God. Perhaps that is what we ought to consider, too, not as a cop-out or a cowardly avoidance strategy, but out of patient submission and yielding to God.
I find the toughest things are trying to decide 1) when to intervene or not and 2) if intervention is tried, what means of intervention is appropriate.
Some rule of thumbs to consider….
1) When in doubt, don’t.
2) Start with as little use of power as possible and use only as much as necessary.
3) Don’t overreact.
4) Be patient with every situation. God just may be working something miraculous through it.
5) If you make a mistake, admit it, correct it, and forgive it.
6) If others make a mistake, do likewise.
7) Remember you’re doing God’s will, not yours. Therefore, let HIM be in control.
8) Don’t forget prayer. If it doesn’t move God to change the situation, at least it may move you to let God change your attitude…for the betterment of the Kingdom!