If we are to successfully overcome polarization, we must first look deeply into its roots.
Economic inequality has increased, even inside congregations.
Nearly every congregation has a mission statement. A good mission statement reminds leaders of who their congregation is and what it does in the world.
Character trumps every other attribute of leadership—including skills, charisma, vision, motivation, and persistence.
In the last 50 years, not a single minister had survived at First Community Church for more than five. There were many theories as to why. The generally accepted rationale was simply that “First Community chews up its pastors.” Pastor Bethany, who had received plenty of warnings before accepting the lead minister role at First Community, was determined to unearth the reasons for this phenomenon.
Congregations that started a “new community outreach” in the previous five years were much less likely to report a significant conflict than similar congregations that did not.
The dramatic decline in denominational affiliation and loyalty in the U.S. the last half century has prompted many to ask, “Do denominations (and their regional bodies) matter?” When there is often more variation in belief and practices within a given denomination than between denominations, what does it mean to identify as a Presbyterian or Methodist, or as part of the Conservative or Reform movement in Judaism?