If five pastors are sitting at a table, in most cases all five of them can tell the story of a major conflict in their church, and one of them can describe a battle that's raging right now. Conflict is common in the body of Christ, but must it be debilitating? Disagreements are to be expected, but must the way Christians settle their disputes-too often nasty-be our defining characteristic?

Our recent survey says it shouldn't, but it often is.

We also have good news. While 95% of pastors report having experienced conflict, and 20% are enduring conflict right now, almost all of the pastors we polled reported at least some positive outcomes.

In spring 2004, Leadership surveyed 506 readers who are pastors. The results have an accuracy of plus or minus 4.36 points.

What do we fight about?

Jokes about the color of the carpet aside, who makes the decisions is a big issue in most churches. In our survey, pastors checked all the sources of conflict from a list (see graphic, right) and 85% of ...

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