"Tension and conflict in multiple-staff churches are caused either by the ego of the staff member or the incompetent management of the senior pastor." I wish to expose that statement for what it is-a myth. Staff members are just not that rebellious nor senior pastors that incompetent. Assigning blame at either point misses the real issue in most cases and only perpetuates conflict.

The vast majority of staff pastors I've spoken with, though they admit the reality of conflict, find it neither overwhelming nor ever-present. Deep joy in ministry and affection for their pastor undergirds their labor. Personally, leaving my staff position was the hardest decision I ever made, knowing how much my relationship with my pastor would change once I was fifty miles down the road instead of fifteen feet up the hall.

No management system or technique can ensure an absence of conflict. In fact, I'm not so sure eliminating conflicts is desirable. Conflict often indicates healthy growth processes are at work. Too often, however, failure to recognize the source of conflict and to handle it appropriately leads to far more destruction than healthy growth processes are worth.

In conversations with pastors and staff members, seven major areas of conflict continue to surface, none of which has anything to do with staff submission or pastoral mismanagement. When seen for what they are, each can be easily handled and the conflict turned to constructive ends.

Generational Differences

"I've tried to get my pastor to use contemporary choruses in worship with more spontaneity, but he is too locked into old traditions."

"These young kids think they know how everything ought to run. Don't they think we've learned ...