Tag Archives | conflict

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After the Earthquake: Congregations after the U.S. Election

Most Americans were surprised by the outcome of the November 8 election. More than 90% of Clinton supporters and a plurality of Trump supporters expected Clinton to emerge victorious. Congregational leaders faced a dilemma the following weekend. How does one speak both to those who were celebrating and those who were grieving?

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Surviving Congregational Conflict

High-intensity congregational conflict is brutal on congregational leaders. Even though conflict generally emerges from deeper congregational and societal dynamics, members are likely to assume that leaders’ incompetence must be at least partly responsible.

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The Joy (and Challenge) of Community

It’s very easy in our American culture to leave a church. No matter how hard pastors and lay leaders work to keep folks focused on mission instead of individual preferences, church attendance is often a consumer-driven phenomenon. If there is any kind of conflict brewing in a congregation the temptations to flee grow exponentially. It’s […]

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Spirituality and Congregational Life

In the last 50 years, much of our new understanding of congregational life emerged from the social sciences, while less attention has been given to the spirituality of congregations and their leaders. Social science has contributed a great deal, but some questions remain stubbornly unanswered. Why can some leaders provide principled leadership for decades while […]

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Want a Healthier Congregation? Start with Better Meetings

Nearly every congregation has a hushed story about one. That “awful meeting” in which participants said terrible things, relationships were shattered, and permanent scars resulted. In their 1999 study of “Breakaway Organizations,” Dyck and Stark found that a “polarizing event” (usually a painful congregational meeting) was almost always the precipitating factor for a congregational schism […]

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What to Say When Your Side Loses

by Dan Hotchkiss“The ayes have it.” Curt put down his hand and looked across the table at Priscilla, who had also voted “no.” Priscilla smiled, shrugged, and joined the chatter about how to ask the membership to ratify the board’s decision. Curt was not smiling. By five to two, the board had voted to tear […]

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