Intentional Disagreement Between Pastors of the Same Church?

I was having a conversation with my friend Ryan Potter the other day. I was telling him that if I were to plant a church, I would definitely recruit him and his wife. He (half?) jokingly replied, “yeah right, we could never plant a church together.” I smiled because he had reasons to make the comment. As it turns out, Ryan has different convictions than me.
For example, he’s all about infant baptism, (and doesn’t let me forget that since Kaylyn got baptized while pregnant, we, in effect, baptized our baby as well). He is also quite reformed (Calvinist), and plans to pastor in the Reformed Church of America after his MDiv. He’s also conservative in issues of women in the church, and would take a class on Jonathan Edwards for spiritual nourishment.
I on the other hand am quite different. For one, I don’t have the slightest clue which denomination I would work in if I were to be a pastor. Also, I am still convinced believer’s baptism is more Biblical and is closer to the Gospel admonitions. I would not label myself as “reformed,” although I’m reformed in some sense (reformed can mean a lot of things, but for starters, if I had to pick someone to hang out with, I’d definitely choose Jacobus over John… I would have much more reason to talk ;).  Although I haven’t decided how far I’m willing to go with the whole “women in ministry” issue, I’d say I’m probably egalitarian, if pushed to the limit. I, with Potter, would take a class on Edwards, but it would be to fight!
So, knowing this background information, let me ask an intriguing question. Should I still try to recruit Ryan? We get along great, enjoy conversing over these issues, we attend a small group together, are currently going to the same church, etc… Despite all our differences, I think he’s a pretty cool guy. He loves the Lord, a lot! But would it be safe/smart to work with him in a church someday?
Hypothetical situation: Ryan and I are both “head” pastors of the same church. If someone in the congregation wants to baptize their baby, they go to Ryan. If someone is all about believers baptism, they come to me. When I preach, I would celebrate our free will, and when Ryan preached, he would celebrate the sovereignty of God. (Here I am making unnecessary distinctions just to make the point). Wouldn’t it be cool if the leadership team of a church knew their own points of disagreements, embraced each other, and worked through them, even agreeing to disagree? After all, these are real issues, why should the church not reflect these multiplicities of views? Must a church staff agree on all such things? What if I was a democrat and Ryan was a republican (and most people knew it?) Would this be a bad thing? Couldn’t this be an example to the congregation that plurality within Christ is OK? What do you think? Am I going too far?

3 thoughts on “Intentional Disagreement Between Pastors of the Same Church?

  1. mike this is very intriguing i like that u brought this up, i am not sure how i feel about it because as i was reading through your beliefs and ryans beliefs i agree with you on some areas and i agree with him on some areas so i believe it could be benificial because we as christians are to be active in our faith and not just rely on the pastor to tell us what to believe we are to do the work ourselves and find the truth and there will always be small agruements but it should not hinder our greater truth that in christ alone we are saved and all else will fall into place after that

  2. I’m not sure…I mean, you would be teaching 2 different things in some cases. Wouldn’t that lead to a split congregation – half of them would probably label you more their pastor, and half would label Ryan more their pastor ? It would almost be like 2 separate churches within a church. I don’t see it working.

  3. Those are great comments. I like the idea, Dan, that we must know the greater truths and let everything else fall into that. Yet, like Alicia said, how can we teach two separate things within this umbrella?

    I actually spoke with someone the other day who goes to an Evangelical Presbyterian Church. He said they have a team of 8 equal pastors, 6 believe in adult baptism, 2 believe in paedobaptism. He told me it works just fine. I asked him what happens when a baby is baptized one week and an adult the next? He said, since most pastors believe in adult baptism, so does most of the congregants in the church, and so there is usually not much debate. It was interesting to me that there are churches out there doing it… Admittedly, I like the idea and think its an overall good idea, and can be done!

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