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Showdown with an Angry Man

My advice to a younger pastor facing an inevitable personal conflict.

Based on the candid responses to the Leadership Weekly article "Clark's Unforgivable Sin" (July 28, 2003), I quickly deduced, using my astute sense of the obvious, that "forgiveness ain't easy." And it's a lot more common in churches than we might think—and a comforting thought in an odd sort of way, when we pastors realize it—that we're not alone in our conflict.

One young pastor requested additional counsel, since he is facing a difficult challenge in the form of an angry, controlling church leader. The conflict has already escalated to the breaking point. The pastor has gone to the angry man, one-on-one, trying to find common ground. There is none. This war of control is headed out of control, toward a showdown, something the pastor desperately wants to avoid.

Here's what I told him. Let's see if my advice is similar to what you would have said:

1. You need elders.

Unless the Lord comes back or this man has a lightning strike change of heart, the situation you described is ...

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