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Redeeming Church Conflicts: Turning Crisis into Compassion and Care Paperback – May 1, 2012
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Nowhere does this principle prove itself so vividly as in a family, whether it s biological or spiritual. Most of us have seen the agonizing pain that accompanies the breakdown of a marriage, especially if it is followed by a divorce. The sense of betrayal, anger, bitterness, and hostility that are spawned by the severing of marital bonds can trigger fierce infighting that poisons hearts and relationships for a lifetime.
The same can be said of conflict in a church. Scripture uses familial terms to describe our spiritual relationships father and mother, son and daughter, brother and sister. We invest our hearts and souls in these relationships; we sacrifice, we share, we struggle, we rejoice, we worship, we grow, we celebrate and we mourn ... together. As we do so, our hearts and lives become deeply entwined, and we develop high expectations of one another.
By God s grace, most of us can overlook the minor disappointments of those expectations and continue to worship and minister together for many wonderful years. But when frequent, prolonged, or serious disagreements pervade our church families, our expectations of one another can be deeply shaken. Small waves of disappointment can grow into tsunamis of conflict that sweep over an entire congregation, destroying relationships, ministries, and the witness of the gospel.
I have seen this destructive process far too many times. In my own community, one of the most vibrant and evangelistic churches in town became tangled in a prolonged battle over vision and leadership style. Instead of responding redemptively, both sides formed well-organized factions that maneuvered for control for years. That church is now a parking lot. Literally. The congregation was shattered and scattered, the building was leveled, and the entire campus is now asphalt. I grieve every time I drive by it.
This is why I am so excited about this book. Through their work with Peacemaker Ministries, my friends Dave and Tara have served dozens of churches that were teetering on the brink of destruction. Again and again, they have immersed themselves in the conflict and distress of entire congregations, listening to story after story, seeing the pain and anger of others, and gaining the trust of people who had lost all ability to trust.
Having gained a passport into the hearts of individuals and opposing factions, Tara and Dave became channels of God s reconciling grace. They have helped people replace worldly suspicion with a Kingdom perspective. They have facilitated discernment and understanding. They have inspired leaders to kneel in confession and prayer, to stand up with gospel boldness, and to lead with wisdom and love. And by example and instruction, they have taught entire congregations how to apply scriptural principles to promote reconciliation, peace, and unity.
Their experience and wisdom is set forth in the following pages. I pray that you will study this book carefully and apply its principles in your church with the love and power of Christ. In doing so, you can redeem church conflict, turning it into an opportunity for growth, worship, and Kingdom expansion.
Ken Sande, Founder Peacemaker Ministries --Ken Sande, Founder of Peacemaker Ministries
In Redeeming Church Conflicts Tara Barthel and David Edling draw on their extensive experience helping brothers and sisters resolve serious divisions in ways that bring glory to Jesus, the prince of peace. Perhaps even more important than the wisdom they have gained from walking with congregations through conflict are the insights that they draw from God s Word itself and their confidence that a deepening grasp of the gospel of God s grace sets hearts free to seek and grant forgiveness and to find the humility to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Believers and church leaders should read and take to heart the wisdom offered in Redeeming Church Conflicts not only when conflict threatens our congregations, but also when peace prevails.
Rev. Dr. Dennis E. Johnson, Professor of Practical Theology, Westminster Seminary California and author of The Message of Acts in the History of Redemption and multiple other books --Professor Dennis E. Johnson, Westminster Seminary California
Church conflicts are a shameful thing they hurt, divide, and besmirch the name of Christ. This volume does more than lament the problem. It digs deeply into the experience of the New Testament church to discover a model of forgiveness and redemption that can help the witness of the church to shine once again. May this book help to spawn a whole generation of Acts 15 churches.
Dr. Timothy George is the founding dean of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University and general editor of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture --Dr. Timothy George, Beeson Divinity School
From the Back Cover
"Church conflicts are a shameful thing--they hurt, divide, and besmirch the name of Christ. This volume does more than lament the problem. It digs deeply into the experience of the New Testament church to discover a model of forgiveness and redemption that can help the witness of the church to shine once again."Dr. Timothy George is the founding dean of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University and general editor of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture
"Tara Barthel and David Edling do the body of Christ a significant service inRedeeming Church Conflicts ... Have your staff and your entire church read this book. It will go a long way in creating a culture of peacemaking in your church." Dr. Tim S. Lane, President, Christianity Counseling and Educational Foundation
"This book delivers exactly what is needed in church conflict: a wealth of biblical wisdom and professional expertise as well as an unflinching challenge toward self-examination and away from angry entrenchment and graceless condemnation." Nancy Guthrie, teacher and author of the Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament Bible Study Series
"Redeeming Church Conflicts is that rare book that proves what it promises by showing how the gospel truly affords the church in conflict real means of redeeming the seemingly irredeemable." Rev. Dr. Alfred Poirier, Senior Pastor of Rocky Mountain Community Church (PCA), former Chair of the board of Peacemaker Ministries
"Conflicts within the Church strike at the heart of our witness to the world, and yet there are very few rigorously biblical resources available on this topic ... this book is soundly biblical from beginning to end, with a practical, gospel-centered approach to disputes within the Church." Glenn Waddell, President, Birmingham Theological Seminary
"With delight I commend this much-needed contribution to the field of church conflict intervention... few writers so richly blend sound theology with seasoned ministry experience, all in a readable case-wise manual that will aid church leaders on all levels. " Rev. Dr. Robert D. Jones, Biblical Counseling Professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Author of Uprooting Anger
"Redeeming Church Conflicts is Biblical, insightful and practical; based on wisdom born of faithful service to the Lord and a keen understanding of people. Barthel and Edling present a framework for conflict resolution that is God honoring, sanctifying and redeems what is often times very destructive. Much personal heartache and wounding in Christian ministry could be avoided if church leaders would follow this hermeneutically sound counsel. Dr. Andrew S. Zeller, President, Sangre de Cristo Seminary, Chaplain (COL) U.S. Army (Ret.), D. Min., Th.M., M. Div., B.A.
Top Customer Reviews
I totally recommend reading this book, whether you are in the throes of church conflict, have a hurting church suffering from the aftermath of conflict, or you just want to prepare.
I have often said that the church is made up of people, and where people are involved things get messy. Conflict is a part of church life. It doesn't take twenty years of church membership to know this is true. Unfortunately, though we know conflict exists in the church, we usually go on without knowing how to deal with it, solve it, and move on in our walk with Christ together. Yet there is more to conflict than just "dealing it." We have the ability to redeem conflict and come out of it healthier, closer to God and each other.
Redeeming Church Conflicts is the work of two church conflict professionals. Throughout the book they share their personal experiences with churches, pastors and individuals who brought them in to help mediate their conflicts. They have seen any kind of conflict you can imagine within your church, and probably many that you would not consider.
Their foundation for solving conflict is a four-fold model that is derived from the first Church council in Jerusalem, detailed for us in Acts 15. The book is broken into sections to discuss each of these.
Throughout the book, the role of perspective is revisited. Only when we understand our individual and corporate roles in the light of eternity and God's design will we be able to redeem our conflicts.Read more ›
Just like a family, sharing life together within a church setting will generate conflict. It is inevitable. The trouble comes when our response to the conflict is rooted in selfishness, defensiveness, anger, pride or fear. Knowing how to respond to conflict before it divides and polarizes the community is critical. I would highly recommend every church leader read Tara and David's book before conflict has the opportunity to develop deep roots within the church.
Book has been provided courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications and BakerBooks in exchange for an honest review.
Barthel and Edling use four core principles to help turn crisis of conflicts into opportunities for compassion and care, namely perspective, discernment, leadership, and biblical response.
There are many goodies and tips to take away from this book.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
To someone in the middle of a church conflict, the complex knot of spiritual and material issues, contributing factors, and personalities can appear impossible to understand, let... Read morePublished 2 days ago by Megan Hill
The book points out good information then case studies and finally QUESTIONS to ask the people in conflict. Good questions to contemplate and put into practical manner.Published 15 months ago by hey lodie dottie
Lot's of wisdom to draw on as we work with churches in conflict.Published 23 months ago by David E. Glidden
Recently, I was asked to serve a church in mediating a conflict. I have also been reading recent rumblings within the Reformed community blogosphere. Read morePublished on June 3, 2014 by TSL
All of Tara's books and tapes are fantastic. Used her video series also. She is an incredible communicator. Truly understands reconciliation and forgiveness in Christ.Published on April 26, 2014 by L. Forman
I am continually being made more aware of the difficulties conflict presents in dealing with congregations, church leadership boards and pastors. Read morePublished on March 6, 2014 by Shirley Megill
I've seen many churches have internal conflict. Egos kick in, pride overtakes the purpose of the church, people leave because they think they're better than others. Read morePublished on September 16, 2013 by Michael Levitt
I found the information in this book to be enlightening and inspiring! There is a need for someone to stand up, confront conflicts without the fear of man! Read morePublished on May 29, 2013 by Carlos Wilson