I’ve noticed that a lot of governments around the world are formed by coalitions of various factions.  Each stakes out its own territory, but they agree to work together to keep the government going.  They share power, but not a common goal. 

Unfortunately, I’ve known churches that are coalitions instead of congregations.  What’s the difference?  Here’s my take on this.  Let me know if you have additional thoughts.

1.  A coalition is made up of several factions.  A congregation is made up of one body — the body of Christ.

2.  A coalition exists to keep the status quo.  A congregation is on a journey with God.

3.  A coalition divides the church into segments, with each faction maintaining control over its own turf.  A congregation is united in purpose and process.

4.  A coalition is an uneasy standoff.  A congregation is a unique gathering.

5.  A coalition fractures if the balance of power shifts.  A congregation shares decision-making with mutual concern for one another.

6.  A coalition has a limited life — it only lasts as long as the personalities that dominate it.  A congregation passes its life on to the generations that follow.

7.  A coalition is a political model.  A congregation is eternally the people of God.

Tomorrow:  how to transform a coalition church into a congregation.   Stay tuned.