Saturday, May 17, 2008

Is It Manipulation?

H.B. London Jr. quotes Lyle Schaller: “Three-quarters of all church ministry is significantly reduced because of nonproductive conflict.” He then recalls a meeting with Dr. Norman Shawchuk: “He told me the number one reason for conflict is that leaders generally have poor interpersonal skills. A second major reason is that many congregations are determined to resist change even though they must inevitably come to grips with the sweeping changes all around them. When a church resists a leader's efforts to change strategically, it is only a matter of time before the church becomes riddled with conflict” (Barna G ed. 1997:118). But notice the language. The leader needs to exert “efforts”, and these need to be applied “strategically”. Further, such efforts are necessary in view of apparently widespread “resistance”. Presumably therefore the need for the “interpersonal skills” to gain the advantage? QUESTION: Is it manipulation? Can the priesthood of believers be reconciled with “efforts” applied against an intransigent Church? Why should the Church be intransigent in the first place? And why is the leader apparently thought to have a special advantage of foresight? The photo shows H.B. London Jr.

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