Unfortunately, if polarities are not managed so that they are in creative tension, the attendant conflicts can get out of hand and escalate. When groups of people no longer are speaking to each other, it is time to get advice from professionals who work with seriously conflicted groups, instead of doing systems analysis. Friedman’s books (mentioned earlier) are helpful in understanding the underlying dynamics and family tensions usually present in societies.
AEU Mediation Committee — contact AEU Office in New York or Growth & Development Office in St. Louis
AEU Growth and Development Professional, Growth & Development Office in St. Louis, is trained in conflict management especially in congregations
Alban Institute consultants can help in severe conflict situations.
The Care of Troublesome People by Wayne E. Oates (Alban) No. AL154 $10.95 You will learn how to approach the troubled and troublesome people in your congregation in very specific ways that are not dismissive but are caring, affirming and firmly grounded in values. Rather than point fingers, fix blame, or characterize such people as bad or evil (which can only serve to create further turmoil), Oates proposes a bold new way to care for troublesome people that focuses on not just the battles, but on the issues of wholeness and care for the individual, ourselves, and the Society itself.
Discover Your Conflict Management Style by Speed B. Leas. The Alban Institute, No.AL77, $5.95.
Leadership and Conflict by Speed B. Leas (Nashville: The Abingdon Press, 1982)
Mastering Conflict & Controversy by Edward G. Dobson, Speed B. Leas, and Marshall Shelley (Portland, OR: Multnomah Press, 1992) The Alban Institute No. AL154, $10.95.
Moving Your Church Through Conflict by Speed B. Leas (Alban Institute) No. AL82, $12.95
Peacemaking Without Division: Moving Beyond Congregational Apathy and Anger, by Patricia Washburn and Robert Gribbon (Alban Institute) No. OD74, $7.95
Speaking The Truth In Love by Ruth N. Koch and Kenneth C. Haugk (Alban Institute) No. DT47, $10.95