The title grabs the attention of readers to address what Bullard says is “the number one growth industry of Christian congregations: conflict.” George Bullard is an experienced ministry coach and consultant for planning and conflict. His work with multitudes of congregations convinces him that congregational conflict is necessary and can be helpful. By the end of the book, he promises a method to ‘never experience unhealthy conflict in your congregation again.’ In a straight-talk approach, he counsels that conflict is best dealt with strategically and in healthy ways, not swept under the rug. Bullard organizes the book around seven levels, called ‘intensities’ of conflict. Beginning with ordinary single-issue disagreements, the ‘intensities’ escalate to include multiple issues, competing factions, forcing the pastor or a targeted group to leave, and discrediting enemies. Each short chapter ends with bullet-point ‘coaching insights’ for individual or group reflection, followed by space for personal written reflections, and plans for action and accountability. Christian congregational leaders of most traditions, particularly board members, planning teams, and staff may find this title helpful.
Reviewed by Wendy McCormick