conflict resolution

Jim Wallis 09-30-2013

The words of Jesus are either authoritative for us or they are not.

Tom Ehrich 01-08-2013
Photo illustration , lolloj / Shutterstock.com

Photo illustration , lolloj / Shutterstock.com

Conflict happens everywhere, from Congress to congregations, from boardrooms to bedrooms. The dysfunction of Congress is just a highly public instance of a typical conflict scenario.

I recently compiled some basics of church conflict. See if you agree with me that this playbook applies broadly.

Church conflicts – which will happen to all clergy and congregations eventually – generally focus on the clergy, just as conflict in any enterprise tends to focus on the top leader. That’s because the underlying issue usually is power – who calls the shots, who can initiate change, who can hold others accountable.

Secondary issues like specific actions, perceived performance and trust get the spotlight, but are surrogates for the power issue. People who want power don’t relish being perceived as wanting power. They prefer being seen as the aggrieved, better performers, more trustworthy, more faithful to ultimate purposes.

Church conflicts usually spring from a small group of antagonists, perhaps even a single person, who start with a conclusion, largely intuitive and emotional, and then search for reasons. Those reasons tend to be moving targets that defy better information. Deal with one reason, and two more take its place.

Antagonists, meanwhile, intimidate others into compliance, or at least silence, by making it clear they will stop at nothing to win.

Toya Richards 01-07-2013

Death threats haven't stopped Rev. James Byensi, a Congolese pastor, from seeking peace in his homeland.

Rose Marie Berger 10-25-2010
In the November issue of Sojourners, Rose Marie Berger reviews seve
Jim Wallis 03-25-2010
Sometimes, the timing of events seems almost providential.
Phil Haslanger 12-21-2009

For much of the world, the heart of Bethlehem is found down a narrow stairway in a small cave area under a huge church where a 14-pointed silver star marks the spot that, for at least 17 centuries, Christians have honored as the place where Jesus was born.

Jim Wallis 12-14-2009
President Obama laid out a moral defense of the use of force in his acceptance speech in Oslo
Efrem Smith 10-27-2009
This morning as I was running on the treadmill, I was also watching CNN. A story came on about a shooting in Washington, D.C. The police chief was speaking, with the mayor of D.C looking on.

Subscribe