I've been disheartened of late at the destructive tone that seems to be acceptable in some church conversations. It doesn't matter if the conversation is directed at a program, a person, the direction of a congregation, or the church body as a whole. The communication is "I'm right, you're wrong." It can be carried further: "I am so right that I will damage your ability to carry out any rightness that might exist in you."
I am certainly guilty of carrying this tone. Particularly when someone points the destruction in my direction or towards a pet issue of mine. This diametrical thinking results in church families being torn apart, it produces anguish for both sides. It cannot be a good thing. And yet its prolific status in our congregations, churches, lives would lead one to think that it is an acceptable mode of communication and self-expression.
I have a very wise friend who gives me hope in my disheartenment. She maneuvers through multi-denominational, multi-faith settings as a center-piece of her identity. She listens keenly to every word a person says and can quickly intuitive the communication of their heart. She taught me a rule for conversation in the church: it must be edifying. Destructive words only lead to destruction. If the intent is not edification, it must be destruction and therefore has no place in the Church.
As a church worker, youth worker, congregation member, Church member, my role then becomes teaching, modeling, and expressing edification. Not as the Gospel itself, but as a communication that the Gospel lives in me.