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Testing Staff Relationships in the High Sierras

A wilderness hike through the mountains taught one church staff some lessons about Christian commitment.

Staff relationships in large churches take constant work to avoid debilitating friction. Good staff relationships are important. Although only 12 percent of Protestant churches have more than one full-time staff member, those churches account for roughly 50 percent of all church members. Thus, the church experience of almost one-half of all church members depends to a certain extent on good staff relationships. But how are those relationships developed and maintained?

One way many Christian groups have tried is a wilderness hike, which seeks to help them discover themselves, each other, and God. Since these rugged trips usually mean going without or a meal or two, getting cold, and sleeping on wet ground, they're not for everyone. But after hearing of the benefits some of these groups derived from such experiences, Gib Martin and his church staff decided to try it.

At the end of the summer of 1980, we needed to get away.

Quarreling and bickering between two factions in the church had left ...

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