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Church Conflict: The Hidden Systems Behind the Fights (Effective Church) [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   194
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.12" Width: 5.86" Height: 0.5"
Weight:   0.67 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 1, 1994
Publisher   Abingdon Church Supplies
ISBN  0687081521  
EAN  9780687081523  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
CHURCH CONFLICT The Hidden Systems Behind the Fights by Charles H. Cosgrove and Dennis D. Hatfield Provides focused strategies for pastors and leaders to handle internal conflicts that undermine healthy ministry.

Publishers Description
If church is like a family, it fights like one too As in any family, conflict in the church family is natural and inevitable. But the way the church family handles its fights can make or break ministry. By using stories and examples of real problems at actual churches, Cosgrove and Hatfield have applied family-systems theory to help us identify the hidden structural boundaries in any group relationship. They show how the dynamics and 'family rules' operating in the informal family-like church system powerfully influence how church members relate to each other.

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More About Charles H. Cosgrove & Dennis D. Hatfield

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Charles H. Cosgrove is Professor of New Testament Studies and Christian Ethics at the Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, Illinois

Charles H. Cosgrove has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Church Conflict: The Hidden Systems Behind the Fights  Sep 21, 2007
This book is very boring and I feel that it is a stupid way to look at the church and to try to settle conflicts. I did not like it and I do not recommend anyone purchase it unless you necessaryly have to for a class like I did.
Systems Theory shifts "blame" to community  Oct 24, 2006
This book advances a theory of conflict management called "systems theory." At the core of this theory is the concept that individuals in the congregation are not responsible or accountable for their aberrant behavior. The fault lies in how the community interacts within itself, the unwritten rules it has established, and the secret games it plays. To improve a conflicted congregation, one must fix the system and not confront any individual.

Sadly lacking are biblical references that either support the "systems theory" approach to conflict management or show "systems theory" in use by God. In fact, a systems approach to conflict resolution is at odds with revealed Scripture, since Scripture places individuals on the hotseat for repentance, resolving their personal disputes, and making restitution.

Assuming you value biblical methods for dealing with life, pick up a copy of Ken Sande's "The Peacemaker" instead.
Good intro to systems theory and leadership  May 11, 2006
Charles Cosgrove (professor of New Testament at Northern Baptist Seminary in Brookfield, Illinois) and Dennis Hatfield (former parish pastor and current Analyst/Consultant with Gallup) have produced a very well written, thorough, yet highly practical book that analyses the cause of conflict within a church while it gives pastors techniques for dealing with such conflict.

The metaphor that runs throughout the book is the church as a family. Just as families have parents (those who wield authority) and children (those who look to parents for guidance and social cues) so churches also have members who fill each of these functions. Much of the analysis and advice Cosgrove and Hatfield give revolve around the systemic identification of who occupies the position of a congregational parent and who is a congregational child (as well as identifying your own role). Such systemic mapping is beneficial in both the short- and long-run.

Another major theme presented by Cosgrove and Hatfield is their push to create healthier systems through fostering effective, honest communication. Much communication theory is presented in these pages, including the relationship between type of communication and various emotional bonds, triangles, affirmation, and various models of influence/leadership.

There are many positive aspects of this book-many of which are previously mentioned. It is highly readable, highly practical, and thorough. The authors illustrate their theories with many examples and give helpful techniques. Also, their focus is not on immediate (urgent) conflicts, but encourages a proactive, long-term systemic involvement to improve the communication style and interrelationships within a congregation. While there are not many negatives, I do wish the authors would've addressed some related topics as I walk away with some questions. The authors thoroughly cover the parent/child relationship, but how does one become a child or a parent? How can one gain influence in a congregation? How can parents relate to one another and is this different from the way in which children relate to one another? What is to be done with "ghosts"? In the chapter on "games," how does one begin to get the congregation to stop playing a game (short of using the rules to your advantage, thus playing the game)?

In all, I highly recommend this book. It is a great introduction to systems theory, congregational dynamics, and even pastoral leadership styles. If you have interest in any of these, you will do well to make a study of this highly readable book.

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