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Lead during conflict

By Sam S. Rainer III

Every position of leadership has its nuances. We pastors are no different. Those of us who shepherd God’s people have unique demands and quirks that come with our leadership roles in ministry. And in my years as a pastor, I’ve learned the hard way that some secular leadership models simply do not work in the church.

A seasoned pastor bristling with sagacity recently reminded me of several characteristics of sound pastoral leadership, specifically relating to potential conflict within the church. I’ll share them with you.

  • Always tell the truth (even when it hurts)
  • Be transparent to prevent misperceptions of hiding information
  • Show humility in all situations
  • Do not attack those who attack you
  • Do not engage in malicious gossip
  • Love the people
  • Keep focused on the main things
  • Deal squarely and fairly with the issues
  • Be open with the people
  • Allow people the opportunity to vent and ask questions if needed
  • Keep your composure
  • Watch God work in the midst of negative events
  • Take a conflict and turn it into an opportunity
  • Be prepared and present the facts with clarity and composure
  • Pray constantly
  • Seek the counsel of key people in the church
  • Seek the counsel of those wiser than you
  • Work unceasingly to see the matter to resolution
  • Do not encourage conflict, but do not avoid necessary conflict
  • Demean no one
  • Never yield to ultimatums
  • Keep important records and documentation
  • Never let conflict (or your leadership) be about you
  • Show much compassion

Anything else you all think should be added to the list?

Sam S. Rainer III is the president of Rainer Research and senior pastor of First Baptist Church Murray, Murray, KY. [www.rainerresearch.com] [www.fbcmurray.org]

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