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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Lessons from improv

Carrying your ministry team through conflict

The congregation faced a difficult challenge: how to melt the iciness between council members that had developed over the year.

A divide between the pastors had begun to affect the council. The congregation's lead pastor saw that internal squabbles were diminishing the church's ministry and scheduled a retreat for the leadership. The goal was to warm up the relationships and begin moving forward as a unified team of ministers for the gospel.

As Henry Ford once said, "If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself."

photodiscA congregation's ministry and mission suffer as long as relationship problems persist among staff and council members. It's not unlike an athlete suffering a concussion. A concussion damages the brain to such a degree that clarity of thought and memory diminishes, leaving the injured player at risk of further injury and possibly even death. Once the brain is healed, the athlete can enter into activity again. Until then, attention must be given to ensuring that the brain recovers from injury.

Your congregation's leadership teams (pastors, staff, council and other groups that oversee specific ministries) act like the brain. If any of these teams suffer from relationship damage — internal conflict, power struggles, miscommunication, division, etc. — the entire ministry will suffer.


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September issue

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