Recently, we spent an evening in East Orange, New Jersey, with advisory board member Stanley Long and a dozen black lay persons he had assembled. Dialogue flowed freely and intensely as both men and women expressed opinions about the causes and cures for conflict in the black church.
It quickly became apparent that while certain specific problems are somewhat unique to a local black congregation, the basic elements of conflict disregard denomination, polity, size, and color. The sources of conflict and the means for resolving conflict are universal.
We agreed with Stan's observation that the following article speaks well to the issues raised at our meeting.
The church is the most historic, influential, and strongest institution in the black community. It has not, however, fulfilled its potential for economic, social, and spiritual leadership. I believe a principal cause of the shortfall is its failure to manage internal conflict creatively.
Why has the black church failed to manage conflict? ...1