When the teachers in our village went on strike last year, it nearly tore our congregation apart.

Our congregation includes many teachers and a number of administrators and board of education members. Other church members work as librarians, nurses, and secretaries in the local schools. Naturally, the strike pitted teachers against the administration and the board of education.

During that time, each side sought to outmaneuver, undermine, and discredit the other. Some of our members were crossing picket lines in which other members were marching.

A teachers' strike isn't the only community event that can threaten a church's unity, of course. Political campaigns, zoning variances, and business deals can all put parishioners from the same church on different sides.

As pastor to people on both sides, how can we keep the peace in the church? In our teachers' strike, I learned some valuable lessons that I present here in the hope you'll never have to use them.


When it became obvious ...

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