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What keeps church leaders from becoming better peacemakers?

Many church leaders are not naturally good peacemakers. Because of our fallen nature, we tend to respond to conflict either as people-pleasers or controllers.

People-pleasing leaders prefer to deny, minimize, or cover up conflict. They tend to pacify people by telling them what they want to hear, and often try to counsel others through a sermon rather than talking face to face. While these tactics may postpone confrontation for a while, unresolved issues usually build up over time. They can result in a steady exodus from the church and, eventually, devastating division.

Controlling leaders prefer to attack conflict (and people) head on. They tend to be quick to speak and slow to listen. They are often adept at behind-the-scenes political maneuvering. Instead of seeking understanding and gracious compromise, they frequently divide the church into polarized factions. Controlling leaders may suppress opposition for years, but many of them are suddenly swept away by a conflict they can no longer ...

January/February
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