Book of the Quarter: The Peacemaking Pastor: a Biblical Guide to Resolving Church Conflict

The Peacemaking Pastor: a Biblical Guide to Resolving Church Conflict, by Alfred Poirier, © 2006 by Alfred Poirier, published by Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI, ISBN 978–1–4412–0142–3

This book has a good analysis of conflict with practical suggestions on dealing with it. 

  • Is it a hindrance or opportunity?
  • Since it is a reality of human relationships, how can I learn to deal with it?

Some “mustard seeds” I highlighted. Ideas to ponder for elders, preachers, and others who are involved in conflict — or should be.

Unresolved conflicts between Christians have less to do with people being skillful than with them being sinful (page 12, Kindle Edition).

conflict results when my desires, expectations, fears, or wants collide with your desires, expectations, fears, or wants (pages 29–30, Kindle Edition). 

Conflict is not necessarily a consequence of sin, though it is assuredly a frequent occasion for it (page 30, Kindle Edition).

Confession, then, is the first step in exposing things as they really are, shining light into the chaotic darkness of conflict (page 36, Kindle Edition).

Do you see peacemaking as a fundamental character of the pastoral calling? Or do you view the conflicts in your marriage, family, and church as amoral intrusions keeping you from the important moral matters of preaching the gospel? Do you find yourself grumbling about conflicts in the church as annoying detours keeping you from your “real calling”? Or do you ever consider it pure joy when you encounter all manner of conflicts, trials, and tribulations? (page 72, Kindle Edition).

Regret is a result of fearing man, whereas repentance is the fruit of fearing God (page 115, Kindle Edition).

Whereas regret either makes us despise others in their sin or entices us to join them, repentance compels us to restore others. Repentance causes a person to share, “I too am a sinner like you. Let me show you the good way that leads to God and life.” Likewise, regret moves a person away from the people of God, but repentance restores one to true fellowship with God’s people (page 115–117, Kindle Edition).

Whatever benefit forgiveness may have to me personally, it is not about me—it is about us. It is about people created by God to live in relationship with him and one another. As such, we are in the depths of our identity lovers of people and restorers of broken relationships. We are indeed our brother’s keeper! (page 149, Kindle Edition).

Scripture sees forgiveness in two stages. One stage is what takes place in our hearts, and the other stage is manifest in our actions. We can call the first “dispositional forgiveness” and the second “transactional forgiveness” (page 155, Kindle Edition).

Daniel’s example makes it evident that even though positions give parties little bargaining room, interests allow them the freedom and creativity to negotiate. Whereas positions put parties at loggerheads, interests often dovetail (pages 172, 173, Kindle Edition).

The best way to keep brewing conflicts from bursting into flames is to apply the PAUSE principle. The PAUSE principle can serve as a brake—helping people to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry (James 1:19). Pausing reminds us that something far more important is at stake than the material issue in dispute—our relationships with God and one another (page 175, Kindle Edition).

Often church leaders feel threatened by the prospect of inviting respectful appeals because implicit in many appeals is constructive criticism of the church’s decisions, policies, leadership, and so on. This response is unfortunate because when church leaders are resistant to constructive criticism, they invite conflict. Furthermore, they fail to take the opportunity to demonstrate to their people that they are not mini-popes making infallible decisions regardless of the people’s interests (page 177, Kindle Edition).

To view this book on Amazon: The Peacemaking Pastor

[If anyone clicks on a link and buys a book, I will get a fee.]

The Central church in McMinnville, Tennessee, has selected their new preacher, Cody Boston. He will begin July 25.

My last Sunday with them will be July 11. Gail and I will be taking off August and Septmeber for her broken shoulder to heal and to have an interim between interims.

I will be available to work with another church as an interim October 1. If you know of someone who could use my services, I would like to discuss it with them.

When a preacher stays a long time, usually the church doesn’t like the next preacher. I volunteer to be the next preacher they don’t like. During the six to eighteen months Gail and I work with them, they have time to grieve their losses and wisely select their next preacher.

A thoughtful prayerful transition blesses the church and the preacher and prevents the pain and strife of an impulsive choice of a new preacher.

You can contact me:

Call me at 615-584-0512

(Visited 247 times, 15 visits today)
Jerrie Barber
Servant of Jesus, husband to Gail, father to Jerrie Wayne Barber, II and Christi Parsons, grandfather, great-grandfather, Interim Preacher, Shepherd coach, Ventriloquist, barefoot runner, ride a cruiser bicycle

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