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Conflict. Crisis. The corporate church often does not see its own power to make and destroy its servants.

Yesterday a pastor told us of calling together his leading lay leaders to discuss the development of a long range ministry plan. He asked each one to share his thoughts about the church's present ministry, and how they would like to see it developed during the next five years. The first two speakers openly expressed an enthusiastic optimism about the future of the church. After a very brief pause, the third speaker, an older businessman, rather abruptly stated, "One of our problems is that there's just no power in the preaching." There was dead silence. The pastor felt as if he'd been slapped in the face. The mood of the room changed from warm expectation to cold crisis.

In a thousand ways, such incidents occur every week. How should pastors and lay leaders deal with the various types of conflict and crisis in the church?

Editor Paul Robbins and publisher Harold Myra met in Lexington, Massachusetts, with Monty Burnham, pastor of United Presbyterian Church in Newton; Westy Egmont, pastor ...

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