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Why I Expect Conflict

You can't rock the boat if you are rowing.
—Ben Patterson

Oakland A's manager Billy Martin had a formula for managerial success, which he expressed in Sports Illustrated. "You'll have fifteen guys who will run through a wall for you, five who hate you, and five who are undecided. The trick is keeping the five who hate you away from the five who are undecided."

There have been times in the past four years, four months, and twenty-two days—precisely the period of time that I have been a pastor—that I have felt like a graduate of the Billy Martin School of Church Management. To be honest, trying to write this article on conflict has been a bit like not having enough time to read the marvelous book on time management I bought six years ago. I feel that I must know a lot about conflict because I have been so involved in it. But I can't seem to get out of it long enough to reflect on what I think I must be learning. As the saying goes, "When you're up to your posterior in alligators, you don't ...

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