Moving Your Church Through Conflict

by Speed B. Leas. Rowman & Littlefield, 2012.
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The grandfather of literature and consulting on church conflict, Speed Leas, conceived five ‘levels’ of congregational conflict and how to recognize and respond to each. They begin with low-level conflict, “Problems to Solve,” and move up through progressively more complicated levels of conflict: “Disagreement,” “Contest,” “Fight or Flight,” and finally “Intractable Situations.” The categories (Levels I-V) have become well-known and are now part of many other conflict resources. This brief how-to manual is well-grounded in his theory while offering clergy and lay leaders the strategies to identify each level of conflict and determine what to do. He moves from ‘early warning signs’ through the five levels of conflict, outlining do’s and don’ts for each category. One chapter addresses the situations in which outside consultants may be helpful. The resource concludes with a case study and discussion of special problems of congregational conflict, including church size transition, opposition to the pastor, social action, new building, multiple staff, conflict with the clergy, and conflict aftermath. Available only in e-book format.