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How much fire-power is appropriate in a church fight? No Geneva Convention has established any rules.
—Marshall Shelley

Church conflict can take many forms. Sometimes it's just random sniping—isolated complaints, but dangerous enough to keep you always wary: "I have some concerns about our church, Pastor, which I've been sharing at our prayer group."

Other times, the conflict is confined to border skirmishes—different groups squabbling over "turf"—who gets to decide the Sunday school curriculum or who gets priority in using the multipurpose room?

Other times, however, the conflict is all-out war or a well-planned palace coup. Nothing less than the ouster of the pastor will satisfy the opposition, and nothing less than a groundswell of popular support will keep the pastor in place.

Perhaps the best way to illustrate the way such conflict can escalate from one stage to the next is simply to tell one pastor's experience, then to allow him to reflect on what he learned.

I remember sitting more ...

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October

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