Based on the Center for Congregation's inquiry on congregational conflict, the Conflict in Congregations Special Report is intended to help lay and clergy leaders understand the nature and dynamics of conflict in congregations. The inquiry involved interviews with congregational conflict consultants as well as with leaders from congregations who have experienced conflict. This resource provides definitions of conflict as explained by conflict consultants and highlights a general process of intervention most consultants use. Conflict consultants named more than a dozen issues that can embroil a congregation in conflict. Several of those issues are pastoral or staff transitions, misunderstood expectations of clergy or congregational leaders, and the congregation’s painful past - losses or previous conflict. Consultants named factors that lead congregations to more healthy way of dealing with future conflict. These include commitment, openness, hope, understanding, responsibility, and more. Interviews with congregational leaders yielded insights for clergy in the midst of conflict. Some of those observations include - be mindful of behavior, beware of ghosts from the past, know when to ask for help, and seek reconciliation. Conflict in Congregations offers a useful overview of congregational conflict and helpful hints for addressing it.
Curated by the CRG Team