Every Congregation Needs a Little Conflict
From The Columbia Partnership (TCP) Leadership Series
ItÕs no secret that congregations have conflict. Anyone who has served as a church leader knows about the friction that can take place within a congregation. And too much friction can lead to heated levels of infighting and strife. But used properly, can conflict really be a positive thing for your church?
The direct result of George BullardÕs twenty-five years of work in the area of training congregational and denominational leaders in various strategies to address conflict, this book empowers congregations to use conflict to deal with issues in a healthy and productive manner. In Every Congregation Needs a Little Conflict, Bullard guides church leaders in how to use conflict as a positive force for transition and change, and how to handle unhealthy conflict that might arise.
A TCP Leadership Series title
“I applaud the extensive work that Dr. George Bullard has done in his recent book, Every Congregation Needs a Little Conflict. His insights will greatly assist pastors, local church leaders, and district and denominational executives to assess the levels of conflict and know the appropriate responses for achieving the ongoing health and vitality of persons and congregations. His premise that conflict can be a ‘great thing for congregations’ is fully explored, and he effectively demonstrates how conflict can be a means of transformational empowerment toward missional purposes. He outlines so well the various levels of conflict, the processes and systems to use, and the necessary roles to employ for those called upon to mediate and manage conflict. The selective tools he offers for engaging conflict and the implications for denominational programs and services are excellent. This book will become a ‘classic’ in conflict resolution, mediation, and management. Dr. Bullard provides pastors, coaches, and consultants alike with the resources for turning conflict from impending disaster to ultimate blessing. His book should become a standard text in ministerial training classrooms and a required text for ministers and laity alike who are truly desirous of using conflict to spur greater growth for the Kingdom of God. Thank you George for helping us manage and maximize conflict situations for greater missional purposes.”
—Thomas E. Armiger, General Superintendent, The Wesleyan Church
“While many contemporary church leaders claim that Christians can enjoy perpetual progress and immeasurable increase if they employ ‘X steps to faithful living,’ George Bullard takes the countercultural view that Every Congregation Needs a Little Conflict. He convincingly argues that conflict is inevitable, that it ought to be profitable, that it can be manageable, and that, if mishandled, it can become detestable. The narrative is born from a generation of conflict ministry and shows insightful options available for good or for ill depending on our choices. His conceptual and concrete suggestions for preparing for and negotiating through conflict offer refreshing water in an otherwise parched land. To assert that Every Congregation Needs a Little Conflict today takes a lot of nerve. And we need more leaders with this kind of courage.”
—David E. Goatley, Lott Carey Foreign Mission Convention
“Every Congregation Needs a Little Conflict is a relevant and fresh resource to help congregational leaders maintain healthy and spiritually vital congregations. The significance and usefulness of George Bullard’s book lies in the many-sided perspectives on congregational conflict he shares—from the reasons why a little conflict is needed, to his categorization of the levels of conflict intensity, to foundational insights that bring understanding, to the illustrations and stories that broaden and deepen understanding, to strategies for keeping conflict at a healthy intensity level or dealing with it when it becomes unhealthy.”
—Bill Moore, lay leader Huguenot Road Baptist Church, Richmond, Virginia
“Like Dante’s Inferno, George Bullard’s book deals with seven levels of conflict. But unlike Inferno, things don’t have to get progressively worse. George’s experience as a pastor, social activist, consultant, and organizational coach gives the book sage insight that offers a hope-filled way to turn conflict into a life-giving experience.”
—Marshall Shelley, editor in chief, Leadership media group, Christianity Today International
“Conflict and tension go with growth, even in congregations; yet few congregational leaders get the help they need to engage inevitable conflict creatively. Every congregation needs a little conflict, according to George Bullard, but not all conflict is equal. Bullard helps church leaders differentiate various types of conflict