CHURCH PLANTING & How Conflict Avoidance Often Leads to Church Planting

by Bob Whitesel, 3/10/15.

The following are notes gleaned from my consultative work, where I have found avoidance of conflict to be one of the main struggles among pastors of churches that are stalled in growth in the medium and large size ranges.  Interviewing staff, key volunteers and board members I have noticed the following five (5) results often emerge when leaders avoid conflict.

Outcomes when senior leadership avoids conflict:

1.)  Conflict avoidance often leads to burnout in the leader. This is because the repression of stress creates internal turmoil in the leader which does not get resolved. It usually simmers under the surface until an alarm event (Whitesel, 2002, p. 94ff) pushes it to the front. The leader has repressed it so long the leader will often overact and congregants/staff will wonder why the leader is so upset. The level of irritation is often so great that sides will be formed (Whitesel, 2002, p. 109ff).

2.)  Conflict avoidance often leads to a great deal of external church planting (you will see shortly that because conflict avoidance is the rationale, these plants aren’t often given a healthy start). The senior leader avoids conflict for so long, that staff who are in conflict with him/her wind up leaving the church to plant another church. The planting of the church is actually a conflict avoidance behavior by the senior leader and planter, for in the name of multiplication this tactic distances discordant and innovative ideas from the mother church. The result is that churches become mono-cultural congregations, while at the same time feeling self-satisfied that they are planting churches (Whitesel, 2011, p. 61ff).  But, often the plant becomes mono-cultural too because the avoidance of conflict is a behavior the planted pastor has seen modeled for her/him and often adopts as a coping mechanism as well (Whitesel, 2007).

3)  Conflict avoidance often creates an uncomfortable staff relationship with the senior shepherd, because they don’t know how or when to address conflict. Often the senior leader will cancel or postpone meetings with staff, if the leader perceives it might involve conflict. Inside the leader may be thinking, “If I cancel this meeting the conflict will get resolved after the person has had time to think about it.” As a result, the staff will feel at the best disregarded and as the worst detached. The result is turnover among staff who are innovators and entrepreneurs.

4)  Conflict avoidance results in the staff who remain in the conflict avoidance environment are often those who are accommodators, usually with a high degree of tactical or operational leadership style. The strategic leaders, who are usually those that help churches grow and help the church diversify by reaching out to varying cultures, will go elsewhere. The result is that churches have only a few strategic thinkers, are more mono-cultural and are not able to diversify by reaching multiple cultures at the same time.

5)  Finally conflict avoidance often leads to a less innovative and cohesive personality for the organization.  Outsiders get the impression that change proponents leave that church and entrepreneurs are stifled there.

But, in most of the circumstances above the senior leader is well liked. In my case study research, the more a leader is liked, the more apt that leader is to be a conflict-avoider.  Subsequently, they may be popular among other leaders and asked to share their insights into church growth.  Most of that insight will have to do with planting churches.  But, if you talk to the pastors of many of those plants, as I have, you will find that they feel leaving the mother church was the best way to avoid an awkward situation where conflict was avoided.


>  His/her avoidance of conflict creates an “uncomfortable” and “awkward” feeling among the staff when they are in conflict with the leader’s ideas.

> So, because the senior shepherd is well liked, the creative person will usually try to graciously distance themselves by going elsewhere.

> And, a new plant is launched – but with a wrong motivation and the wrong coping-mechanisms for handing conflict.

Thus, we can see from such case studies, that conflict avoidance can lead to a proliferation of small/weak daughter churches, less diverse mother churches and less satisfied work environments.


Whitesel, B. (2002). Staying power: Why people leave the church over change and what you can do about it. Nashville: Abingdon Press.

__________ (2007). Preparing for change reaction: How to introduce change in your church. Indianapolis: Wesleyan Publishing House.

__________ (2011). ORGANIX: Signs of leadership in a changing church. Nashville: Abingdon Press.

COMMUNICATION & How to Win An Argument #IncMagazine

Adapted from an Inc. Magazine article by Sims Wyeth, 12/3/14.

  1. Don’t convert. Forget about trying to convert your adversaries. The chances of seeing them get down on their knees and apologize for being wrong are remote. Your job is to raise doubts about the wisdom of their view.
  2. Listen. Be a good listener. Make sure you hear and understand your opponent’s reasoning. Learn how to shift gears between listening well and thinking about how to respond.
  3. Clarify. If you are not sure about what your opponent has said, ask for clarification. In the heat of battle, we often counterattack reflexively without making sure we’ve heard the other party. It wastes time and makes you look bad.
  4. Stay calm and carry on. Be mindful of your emotions. When anger and fear overtake you, your cause will be weakened. Be passionate. Be expressive. But stay calm and carry on. Anger makes you less appealing.
  5. Take control. Pay a lot of attention to the agenda of the debate and the issue that you’re fighting over. She who defines the issues and establishes the priorities is on the way to winning.
  6. Get believers on board. Preach to the converted in the room. Preaching to the choir is vital. Preachers do it on a weekly basis. It strengthens the commitment, intellectual confidence, and morale of your allies, making them more effective advocates for your idea.
  7. Play to the undecided. Do not forget the uncommitted. They are, inevitably, the majority. Your job is to pull them in your direction by making vivid the advantages of your idea and the downside of your opponent’s. You will also earn trust with the undecided if you acknowledge that your idea is not perfect, but is nevertheless far superior to the alternative.
  8. Be humble. If you choose to make a broad appeal to everyone, offer to compromise and be modest and restrained in your presentation. You may also choose to make a sharply focused pitch to a particular audience, even at the risk of alienating others. Your choice.
  9. Hit your headlines. When you have a good point to make, make it often.
  10. Make a concession. Knowing what you can concede without damaging your stance is one of the great arts of winning an argument. As a debater, Abraham Lincoln conceded that states had rights, but not the right to enslave or export slavery to other states.
  11. Paint a picture. Analogy is a powerful and persuasive way to bring a point home, especially when the analogy links the subject at issue to the personal experience of the audience. For instance, I’ve heard it said that, during the financial crisis, what the banks did by selling toxic assets to their clients was the same as car dealers selling used cars with bad breaks to teenagers. But be careful with analogies. Use them sparingly. Be well armed to develop and defend the validity of the ones you use.
  12. Offer counterintuitive points. Think outside the box. For example, when quoting some well-known figure, quote one who isn’t normally identified with your case. My favorite example of this is Senator Barry Goldwater, an Arizona conservative, who seems to have endorsed a liberal view of gays in the military when he said, “You don’t have to be straight to shoot straight.”
  13. Expose flaws and fallicies. Don’t condemn your opponent for her motives. Stick to poking holes in what she says.
  14. Be an iceberg. Learn more about your topic than you can conceivably use or show. But demonstrate a mastery of the facts and you will increase your authority and intimidate your opponent.
  15. Know your enemy. Understand the position of your adversary–not in a caricatured or superficial form, but at it’s strongest. Knowing your own position is only half the battle.
  16. Be plain. Be simple. Be earnest. Don’t try to impress. Check your emotional appeals at the door. Seek to persuade with a thorough, well-reasoned approach.

Read more at …

CRITICISM & Self-distancing (talking about yourself in the 2nd or 3rd person) makes you calmer & able to take criticism

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “This research in the Journal of Current Directions in Psychological Science shows that you can handle criticism better if you reflect on yourself using non-first-person pronouns or your own name.  In other words, instead of saying “I felt they really attacked my view,’ you should say, ‘They really attacked Bob.’ This slight nuance of self-distancing has been shown to help you better appraise the situation without personal feelings getting overly involved. Read this research for the science behind this.”

Making Meaning out of Negative Experiences by Self-Distancing

by Ethan Kross (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) and Ozlem Ayduk (University of California, Berkeley), Current Directions in Psychological Science, 20(3) 187-191, 2011.


Both common wisdom and findings from multiple areas of research suggest that it is helpful to understand and make meaning out of negative experiences. However, people’s attempts to do so often backfire, leading them to ruminate and feel worse. Here we attempt to shed light on these seemingly contradictory sets of findings by examining the role that self-distancing plays in facilitating adaptive self-reflection. We begin by briefly describing the ‘‘self-reflection paradox.’’ We then define self-distancing, present evidence from multiple levels of analysis that illustrate how this process facilitates adaptive self-reflection, and discuss the basic science and practical implications of this research.

Reprints and permission: DOI: 10.1177/0963721411408883

Download the article here …

RACISM & Confronting the Legacy of Lynching as Racial Terror

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Many people know that Marion, Indiana was the location of the last lynching of a black man in America. In some ways as a response to this deplorable history, a university with a strong and unwavering advocacy for racial equality has emerged. Yet many people do not understand that lynching was used to terrorize African Americans, resulting in what this article describes as ‘terror lynchings’ that ‘fueled the mass migration of millions of black people from the South into urban ghettos in the North and West during the first half of the twentieth century. Lynching created a fearful environment where racial subordination and segregation was maintained with limited resistance for decades. Most critically, lynching reinforced a legacy of racial inequality that has never been adequately addressed in America.’ To understand the necessity of both spiritual and racial reconciliation, not only residents of Marion, Indiana but all of our students, friends and colleagues must grasp more accurately the modern-day ramifications of such terroristic behavior. Therefore I urge you to read this important to report on the legacy of lynching in America.”

Lynching in America: Confronting the legacy of racial terror (report summary)

By the Equal Justice Initiative,, 2/15/15


Between the Civil War and World War II, thousands of African Americans were lynched in the United States. Lynchings were violent and public acts of torture that traumatized black people throughout the country and were largely tolerated by state and federal officials. These lynchings were terrorism. “Terror lynchings” peaked between 1880 and 1940 and claimed the lives of African American men, women, and children who were forced to endure the fear, humiliation, and barbarity of this widespread phenomenon unaided.

Lynching profoundly impacted race relations in America and shaped the geographic, political, social, and economic conditions of African Americans in ways that are still evident today. Terror lynchings fueled the mass migration of millions of black people from the South into urban ghettos in the North and West during the first half of the twentieth century. Lynching created a fearful environment where racial subordination and segregation was maintained with limited resistance for decades. Most critically, lynching reinforced a legacy of racial inequality that has never been adequately addressed in America. The administration of criminal justice especially is tangled with the history of lynching in profound ways that continue to contaminate the integrity and fairness of the justice system.

This report begins a necessary conversation to confront the injustice, inequality, anguish, and suffering that racial terror and violence created. The history of terror lynching compli- cates contemporary issues of race, punishment, crime, and justice. Mass incarceration, ex- cessive penal punishment, disproportionate sentencing of racial minorities, and police abuse of people of color reveal problems in American society that were framed in the terror era. The narrative of racial difference that lynching dramatized continues to haunt us. Avoiding honest conversation about this history has undermined our ability to build a nation where racial justice can be achieved.

The Context for this Report

In America, there is a legacy of racial inequality shaped by the enslavement of millions of black people. The era of slavery was followed by decades of terrorism and racial subor- dination most dramatically evidenced by lynching. The civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s challenged the legality of many of the most racist practices…

Download the entire report here …

CONFLICT & How to Handle 3 Types of Difficult Conversations

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Research shows that you can’t avoid office politics. Instead, you have to participate in an ethical, team-building and responsible way. See this research on how to handle three types of situations, including colleagues that go ‘postal’ on you, how to bring up criticism in a public meeting and what do to if you are mad about a decision that affects you.”

By Karen Dillon, Harvard Business Review, 12/29/14 (adapted from The HBR Guide to Office Politics.)

Many of us find ourselves in professional situations where we believe someone has wronged us, treated us badly, or just plain made us mad. The expert advice often is to have the courage to have an honest conversation, air the grievance. No one can help you solve a problem if she doesn’t know you have it. But that’s easier said than done, right?

It helps to have guiding principles to call on when you need to work through something difficult with a colleague. But the context of your discussion also matters. Do you need to take a stand on something? Deliver bad news? Do you have time to prepare, or are you caught off guard? Here are some specific tips for navigating the most common scenarios, including the wrong way to approach the issue and a better way.

If you’re mad about a decision that affects you . .

… waiting until you’re calm, and framing how the decision is bad for the company — and not just you — will put you on a more productive path, says Jeanne Brett, director of Kellogg School of Management’s Dispute Resolution Research Center.

The wrong way: “I just found out that Peter got double the raise I got. Are you kidding me? I work three times as hard as he does…”

A better way: Take a broader view of the issue. If you’re unhappy about a decision, might others be, too? If so, why? What’s the larger issue for your team or organization? Brett advises framing the conversation as, “I’ve observed something that’s not good for the company, and I’d like to help address it” rather than “I’m really mad this decision has been made about me…”

If you need to make critical comments in a public forum . . .

Speaking up is challenging enough. But speaking out in front of everyone in your company? It’s fodder for nightmares.

Still, it doesn’t have to be. Preparing thoroughly, framing the issue with a company focus, and positioning yourself as a problem solver will help make the daunting task of raising concerns at a large meeting, such as a board meeting or all-staff meeting, more palatable and productive.

The wrong way: It’s unwise to make a statement like this in front of everyone: “I think this is a stupid idea for the company. If we keep proceeding down this path, prepare for a death spiral!”

A better way: Before you stand up, prepare to take some heat. Making a critical comment in a public forum is likely to generate anger in people who don’t agree with you. So say explicitly that you’re trying to do what you think is best for the company. But also recognize, Brett says, that you’re probably not alone: “In every case, you’re not likely to be the only person who has these concerns.” If possible, find a like-minded colleague before the meeting who might be prepared to back you up…

If a colleague goes postal on you . . .

Do not respond to raw anger. Let your colleague’s words wash over you. See whether the scene will wind down. Here’s where managing your thoughts and emotions will help you navigate this challenge successfully. “Most people reciprocate other people’s behavior,” Brett says. “It takes discipline not to get angry in response. But it’s effective.”

The wrong way: “What are you talking about?! You have no idea what work went into this project! Next time I’m not going to bother to ask your opinion!”

A better way: You don’t need to go to the other extreme and cower, or apologize for something you didn’t do, but simply choose not to engage in the battle. If your colleague is so emotional that you can’t get a word in edgewise, sometimes merely labeling the situation helps deescalate the tension: “Listen, we can trade threats and insults here, but that’s not going to solve our problem. We’re not getting anywhere this way.” You’re much better off removing yourself from a situation than trying to fight back. Suggest you meet later to discuss the problem. Do whatever you need to do to stay calm and avoid having an emotional conversation.

But because you can’t always dictate the timing — and trying to do so can make some people even angrier — it helps to respond in the most neutral way possible without conceding or escalating. Neutral in this case sounds like this: “I don’t know what to say. This is unexpected. What shall we do next?” suggests Holly Weeks, author of Failure to Communicate: How Conversations Go Wrong and What You Can Do to Right Them. You haven’t placated the person, you haven’t conceded; instead, you have calmly acknowledged that your colleague is angry. The conversation may not be pleasant after that, but you haven’t made anything worse for either of you. You’re now thinking together, rather than just reacting.

On the other hand, if you are in the wrong, and you know it, apologize immediately, says Weeks. “I’m sorry. I meant that to be funny.” That’s it, you’re done. Don’t keep piling on the explanation. Just own it.

Read more at …

OFFICE POLITICS & Why Politics Increase in Dying Churches

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Henry Mintzberg wrote the classical research on office politics. And he points out that dying organizations have a higher degree of politics which causes them to die faster. He points out this is good for it ends and redistributes the assets of highly polarized organizations. This may be happening in many churches as well. According to Mintzberg, the highly political nature of dying congregations serves the purpose of helping them die quicker and then the resources, namely people, can be scattered more quickly into other organizations. Read this original article in the Journal of Management Studies for more interesting insights.”

THE ORGANIZATION AS POLITICAL ARENA – Henry Mintzberg – Journal of Management Studies – Wiley Online Library


Politics and conflict sometimes capture an organization in whole or significant part, giving rise to a form we call the Political Arena. After discussing briefly the system of politics in organizations, particularly as a set of ‘political games’, we derive through a series of propositions four basic types of Political Arenas: the complete Political Arena (characterized by conflict that is intensive and pervasive), the confrontation (conflict that is intensive but contained), the shaky alliance (conflict that is moderate and contained), and the politicized organization (conflict that is moderate but pervasive). the interrelationships among these four, as well as the context of each, are then described in terms of a process model of life cycles of Political Arenas. A final section of the paper considers the functional roles of politics in organizations.


Read more at … Get PDF (1118K),

STRESS & How to Manage Stress and Avoid Burnout #IncMagazine

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Adam D’Angelo is CEO one of the fastest rising start up companies in recent memory. But, he also points out there were many places along that route where he could’ve been discouraged. Here he shares three of his ways to overcome stress.”

Read about how other startup CEOs handle stress here …

ADVERSITY & How to Bounce Back from Repeated Setbacks. #Messiah #Handel

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 10/20/14.

This is the story of another famous artist, whose masterpiece was titled simply Messiah, but which almost did not come about … if but for the intervention of God and the men he sent along George Frederick Handel’s path.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven… a time to tear down and a time to build.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 selected

His father was a no-nonsense, practical man. And though his young son showed a stunning talent for music, his father refused to permit him to take musical lessons. In 1693 a duke heard the eight- or nine-year-old playing an organ postlude in a worship service and demanded his father provide formal music training. By the time he was twelve, George Frederic Handel had written his first composition and often substituted for his music teacher. When his father died, he discontinued his law studies and devoted himself full time to the study of music.

Handel’s life continued to be fraught with setbacks, disappointments, financial woes, and illnesses. His music would fall in and out of favor with changing monarchs. And one musical success would often be followed by a financial disaster. Ill and swimming in debt, in 1741 he gave what he considered to be his farewell concert before retiring, perhaps to the debtor’s prison. Unexpectedly a wealthy friend gave Handel a libretto based on the life of Christ taken entirely from the Bible. Then again unexpectedly a Dublin charity commissioned him to compose a work for a benefit performance. Handel set to work composing and in 24 days he had filled 260 pages of manuscript with what he titled simply Messiah. When composer Franz Joseph Haydn heard its Hallelujah Chorus he wept like a child and exclaimed, “He is the master of us all!”

George Frederic Handel was blessed with an amazing ability to bounce back from repeated adversity. He seemed to understand the lesson of The Book of Ecclesiastes, that life not only includes times of setbacks and woes, but also times of progress and success. He refused to be discouraged by misfortune. Once when his friends gathered to console him about the extremely sparse attendance at one of his performances, he good-naturedly joked, “Never mind. The music will sound better” with the improved acoustics of an empty concert hall.

If Handel had given in to depression, attacks, illnesses, and financial woes a well loved work such as Messiah might never have been written. The Bible reminds us that setbacks, difficulties and challenges are part of life … along with happiness, success and achievement. Handel’s timeless Messiah stands as a testament to the graciousness of God amid the difficulties of life.

CONFLICT & 5 Golden Rules for Good Arguments

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “This article by Oxford University lawyer Jonathan Herring, tenders five steps to transforming unproductive shouting matches or passive aggressive avoidance into productive conversations that result in all participants having a better understanding of each other’s views. Herring reminds readers…”

1) “Come prepared … think carefully about what it is you are arguing about and what it is you want.

2) Craft your arguments … Spend time thinking about how to present your argument. Body language, choice of words, and manner of speaking all affect how your argument will come across,

3) Plan your counterpoints… Think carefully about what arguments the other person will listen to …. Which kinds of arguments do they find convincing?

4) Beware crafty tricks… Arguments are not always as good as they first appear. Be wary of your opponent’s use of statistics.

5) Be creative to resolve deadlock … be creative in finding ways out of an argument that’s going nowhere.”

Read more at …

CONFLICT & Learning to Love Criticism #NewYorkTimes

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Research cited in this article points out that women leaders receive more criticism than men, and that the criticism is often unfairly directed toward their personality traits. This article offers helpful ways for everyone to handle unfair criticism.”

Read more at …

ENVY & When Your Gain Is My Pain and Your Pain Is My Gain: How you are programmed to envy others

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “There is a reason we envy other people’s success and that we rejoice when they fall from grace. And scientists have found this is built into the chemical reactions of our brain. This should be further evidence that an inclination toward sin is built into each of us … to which Christ offers the ultimate answer.”

Journal article by Hidehiko Takahashi1,2,3,*, Motoichiro Kato4, Masato Matsuura2, Dean Mobbs5, Tetsuya Suhara1, Yoshiro Okubo6, Science Magazine, vol. 323, no. 5916, pp. 937-939


We often evaluate the self and others from social comparisons. We feel envy when the target person has superior and self-relevant characteristics. Schadenfreude occurs when envied persons fall from grace. To elucidate the neurocognitive mechanisms of envy and schadenfreude, we conducted two functional magnetic resonance imaging studies. In study one, the participants read information concerning target persons characterized by levels of possession and self-relevance of comparison domains. When the target person’s possession was superior and self-relevant, stronger envy and stronger anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) activation were induced. In study two, stronger schadenfreude and stronger striatum activation were induced when misfortunes happened to envied persons. ACC activation in study one predicted ventral striatum activation in study two. Our findings document mechanisms of painful emotion, envy, and a rewarding reaction, schadenfreude.

Read more at …

CHURH PLANTING & Church Starting, So What’s the Difference? Good explanation from #EdStetzer

Church Planting or Church Starting?

by Ed Stetzer, 6/20/13

When we talk about church planting it can be a little different than church starting. What’s the difference? Well, I think church starting happens a lot of ways. The most popular church starting strategy involves a group of people getting mad, leaving their home church, and starting another church. In most cases I wouldn’t advise this strategy.

Church planting, on the other hand, involves an individual, mother church, and/or a group of people going out to start a church for the purpose of engaging a community through gospel proclamation and demonstration.

Church planting, unlike church starting, should/must be mission driven.

Church planting grows in the soil of lostness (hence “planting”) where men and women far from God are challenged with the claims of the gospel of Jesus Christ by a group of intentional believers…

Read more at …

CONFLICT & The Biological Reason Why Negative Comments Stick With Us So Much Longer Than Positive Ones

by Judith E. Glaser, Harvard Business Review, 6/12/14.

Why do negative comments and conversations stick with us so much longer than positive ones?

… Chemistry plays a big role in this phenomenon. When we face criticism, rejection or fear, when we feel marginalized or minimized, our bodies produce higher levels of cortisol, a hormone that shuts down the thinking center of our brains and activates conflict aversion and protection behaviors. We become more reactive and sensitive. We often perceive even greater judgment and negativity than actually exists. And these effects can last for 26 hours or more, imprinting the interaction on our memories and magnifying the impact it has on our future behavior. Cortisol functions like a sustained-release tablet – the more we ruminate about our fear, the longer the impact.

Positive comments and conversations produce a chemical reaction too. They spur the production of oxytocin, a feel-good hormone that elevates our ability to communicate, collaborate and trust others by activating networks in our prefrontal cortex. But oxytocin metabolizes more quickly than cortisol, so its effects are less dramatic and long-lasting.

This “chemistry of conversations” is why it’s so critical for all of us -especially managers – to be more mindful about our interactions. Behaviors that increase cortisol levels reduce what I call “Conversational Intelligence” or “C-IQ,” or a person’s ability to connect and think innovatively, empathetically, creatively and strategically with others. Behaviors that spark oxytocin, by contrast, raise C-IQ.

Read more at …

CONFLICT & Getting along with your boss is key factor to employee satisfaction

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Getting along with your boss may be difficult and might require work, but research shows it is one of the primary factors in employee satisfaction. And research shows that if bosses want to be more successful leaders, they should make a concerted effort to not be either autocratic or withdrawn, but engage their employees as friends and partners. See this executive overview of the research for important insights.”

Download the executive summary and read more at …

CONFLICT & Are Some Theologies Set Up to Find Fault?

by Pete Enns, 5/25/14

First, the resurgence of Reformed theology in American evangelicalism and fundamentalism–commonly referred to as the Neo-Reformed movement–is a belligerent movement. This is why it exists–to correct others, not to turn the spotlight inward. There are exceptions within, of course, and I am by no means suggesting everyone who sees him or herself as part of this movement exhibits this tendency. But the “system” is set up to fight. It’s what they do.

So don’t be shocked, Tullian, if it happens to you. Yesterday’s heroes can quickly become tomorrow’s vanquished foes. When “contending for the gospel” is your center of gravity, there’s always a foe. There has to be.

Second, theology proper is to blame here–”theology” as in how we understand God.

Christians who can’t seem to walk away from a fight–who seem uncomfortable in a peace vacuum, who feel the gospel is at stake with nearly every perceived errant thought or difference of opinion, and who feel they need to group together and found organizations to protect the truth against all ungodly attacks–are showing us what their God is like.

If you are a fighter, chances are the God you imagine is:

fundamentally hacked off, retributive, touchy, demanding of theological precision, uncompromising, takes-no-prisoners-and-gives-no-quarter, whose wrath needs to be appeased so watch your step.

If that’s your God, you have full permission–in fact, you are commanded– to fight a lot, especially with other Christians–a modern day Phinehas weeding out the covenant breakers among us (Numbers 25), God’s instrument of retribution.

Read more at…

You can read Scot McKnight’s commentary on this here …

CHANGE & Regression

When Your Team Reverts to the Old Strategy
by Amy Gallo, Harvard Business Review

An important overview of John Kotter’s change principles to:

1)  Go slow,
2)  Build consensus
3)  And succeed.

This supports these lessons in my books: “Staying Power: Why people leave the church over change and what you can do about it” (2003) and “Preparing for change reaction: How to introduce change in your church” (2010).

In this very helpful overview by Gallo of Kotter’s work, you will learn how to create teamwork that prevents the team-killing rise of “choosers” and “choiceless doers.”