Discerning the Causes

Church conflict doesn't usually emerge from a single cause, and understanding the variety of causes is crucial to dealing with conflict.
—Speed Leas

One California pastor found himself at odds with two men in his congregation. The problem was, well, that was the problem—this pastor couldn't figure out what exactly the problem was.

Certainly, a host of issues divided the pastor and the two men: They thought he preached too much on sin; he thought they lived by cheap grace. He thought clapping for the choir inappropriate in worship; they, as choir members, thought clapping a contemporary way of affirming the choir.

But some personal issues were involved as well: The pastor preached a sermon about homosexuality, only to discover later that one of these men, who had a homosexual son, was hurt by the pastor's "insensitive" comments.

And then there was politics: These men had wielded a great deal of power in the church's short history. For some twenty years they had set the tone for the church: ...

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