Starting from the premise that church conflict is inevitable, the consultants from The Armstrong Group, a management consulting firm with a division working with pastors, creatively offer tools to assist leaders with conflict. They use a fictional but very familiar account of a pastor embroiled in conflict as an entrée to discussion of tools for self-understanding, self-management, and key skills for managing conflict. They describe red zone and blue zone behavior in individuals and organizations, as a way of contrasting a feelings orientation with an effectiveness orientation. The book is direct in its assertion that the only thing one can change is oneself. It also includes helpful analysis of the theory of technical vs. adaptive change, developed by Ronald Heifetz, with specific tips on leading through adaptive change. The book includes numerous personal exercises, called Response Activities, as well as discussion questions. Response activities are divided into three sections: “The Problem Is You, So Know Yourself”, “Resistance is Your Ally”, and “Adaptive Change”. Although aimed at an evangelical audience, this book will be helpful to any congregational leader, especially pastors, open to self discovery and self improvement.
Reviewed by Wendy McCormick