Writing

Don’t Let Conflict Get the Best of You

What do you do when conflict threatens to get the best of your congregation? Conflict can be a lot like having weeds in your lawn. If you ignore it, then it will spread and begin to threaten the spiritual health of the church as well as the spiritual health of everyone connected to it. Before you know it, conflict typically grows way out of proportion to the original issue and can spread to the point of causing division. You cannot avoid conflict, but you can develop strategies to manage it well. Here are some steps that you can take. Preventative Maintenance: Culture is made up of the patterns and habits with which a group typically operates. Unhealthy cultures display patterns of…

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Putting our ladders up against the same wall

You have probably seen a movie in which an army will be attacking a fort or a castle and they bring ladders to help soldiers scale the wall and penetrate the fortress. They always bring more than one ladder. To do otherwise would not prove very efficient since only one person at a time would be able to climb over the top of the wall. The defending army would have an easy time picking off everyone waiting for their turn on the ladder. But it would also be inefficient to spread the ladders out too much. Concentrating the ladders together against the same wall would allow for a better opportunity to overwhelm the defenders. Several years ago at a funeral…

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Sometimes you just need a new hat

  In the movie Crossing Delancey, the main character, Isabelle, sees Delancey Street on the Lower East Side as a dividing line between the older Jewish neighborhood of her childhood and her new, and more interesting life as a bookseller in Uptown Manhattan. Crossing Delancey represents a return to the past, a distraction from her present life. Izzy’s grandmother decides that at age 33, she needs help finding a suitable man. Through a matchmaker Izzy meets Sam, a bachelor who runs his father’s pickle shop on Delancey. While she considers Sam a nice guy, a pickle shop owner who remained in the old neighborhood running the family business does not reach her level of sophistication. Or, so she thinks. Sam uses…

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First followers and creating a Kingdom movement

Several months ago I participated on a strategic planning committee for our local school district. At our first meeting the consultant that the district had engaged showed us this interesting video in which Derek Sivers describes how a movement can happen in less than three minutes. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fW8amMCVAJQ[/embed] Right away, I was intrigued by the emphasis upon the first follower because so much of what we talk about in organizations, especially in churches, is leadership. I have watched this video dozens of times, and from the beginning I have thought about how this can apply to the missional life and creating a Kingdom movement. If Jesus is the leader of the church (he was viewed by many at the time as…

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