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Secrets of Harnessing People Power

A conversation with Donald V. Seibert

Pastoring a congregation is sometimes like refereeing a set of Golden Gloves matches. Fighting begins with the preliminary scraps: music committee versus choir, nursery workers versus Sunday school superintendent, Christian education board versus youth pastor. And then the championship bout: elders versus trustees.

You may not see any knockouts; few wild haymakers ever land solidly. But the infighting can be brutal. Participants can be sore for weeks.

How can a pastor stop the hurting and start the healing? How can he prevent internal squabbles from overshadowing ministry to the needs of the community? That's what leadership requires.

Donald Seibert has seen conflict not only in churches but in high-pressure corporate board rooms. As chairman and chief executive officer at J. C. Penney, he's gained a reputation as a peacemaker. And in peace, the company has prospered.

In 1981, a year when most retailers were taking their lumps, Penney's earnings rose 44 percent on a mere 4.5 percent increase ...

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