Rev. Anita L. Bradshaw, PhD
Skylight Paths, 2015
With a positive theology of change, we can live as Christians known not for disagreements or self-interest, but for our love through difficulty.
“When congregations can move forward from conflict, weather change well and allow ourselves to move beyond old and outdated stories, then we are able to create a new story for our future…. Do we dare to ask God to lead us to a new place?” —from the Benediction
Change and conflict are often feared in churches―but they don’t need to be. When we learn to see these difficulties as normal, healthy parts of being a community, it is much easier to navigate them with a minimum of anxiety and bad behavior. We are able to let go of our fears and face change and conflict as catalysts for moving forward in the mission of showing God’s love and justice to the world. In fact, there is no way to move forward in mission without change and conflict.
This warmhearted guidebook will help your church navigate change and channel conflict into deeper understanding and a stronger sense of community. Lay leaders, pastors and church staff will be empowered by creative, easy-to-implement strategies to:
- Establish appropriate congregational behavior and communication
- Practice nonanxious leadership in the midst of upheaval
- Foster productive community discussion and discernment
- Manage a community’s tendency to polarize disagreements
- Encourage imaginative thinking and creative responses to difficult situations
- Replace a congregation’s discouraging self-image with an empowering vision for ministry