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A clear word at the right time can keep the church from getting separated.

When a church is in conflict, a pastor's sermons loom large, helping to define the issues. Even in peacetime, some sermons about sensitive topics are guaranteed to cause a stir. Jack Hayford has preached his share of landmark sermons and has learned how to approach them. This article is excerpted from the book Who's in Charge? coauthored by Leith Anderson, Jack Hayford, and Ben Patterson. This is the first in a new series of books, Mastering Ministry's Pressure Points, copublished by LEADERSHIP and Multnomah Press.

Whatever a pastor's position on wine drinking, it's not hard to marshal proof texts. And it's for sure some people will disagree with whatever conclusion you come to.

Despite the disagreement I knew we'd uncover, several years ago I faced the need to deal directly with this subject with our "Servants Council," a group of several hundred key people in our congregation.

As I wrestled with the issue in my study, I felt the internal pressure of being responsible for these leaders and ...

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