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Preemptive Peace Strikes

How to stop unhealthy conflict from sneaking into your ministry.

I was doing some counseling in a side hall when my radio crackled in my ear, "We need you in the East Hall. A fist fight has broken out." It was Sunday morning "rush hour," that time between services with large crowds both exiting and entering the building. When I arrived I found that two of our greeters had started an argument that had escalated into a fist fight—not exactly something we'd covered in volunteer training. The culprit in the argument was (drum roll please): politics. The greeters were embarrassed. I was embarrassed. Conflict had made yet another visible dent in the church.

Unhealthy conflict

Ministry is conflict. I agree with Westley from the Princess Bride when he tells Buttercup, "Life is pain … Anyone who says differently is selling something." In a typical day, those serving in ministry find themselves struggling with the sins of others, personal temptation, budget woes, selfishness, and even others in ministry. These conflicts can be healthy and life-giving ...

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