Learn to Navigate Conflict from this Biblical Character

In Nehemiah 5, the Israelites faced conflict for one of the same reasons we do today: selfishness. So, what can we learn from Nehemiah about handling conflict?

1. Take the problem seriously. (v. 6)

Nehemiah didn’t ignore the problem; he took it seriously. When the unity of your church gets challenged, it’s your job to protect that unity. It’s serious business.

In times like this, a certain level of anger is completely appropriate and right. Leadership means knowing the difference between the right kind of anger and the wrong kind of anger.

2. Think before you speak. (v. 7)

If you only do step one and ignore step two, you’ll get in lots of trouble. Nehemiah 5:7 says, “I pondered them in my mind” (NIV). Nehemiah stopped, got alone with God, and thought about what he was going to do. He asked God, “What do you want me to do?”

You should get angry when disunity threatens your church, but you have to think before you act. You can’t just act on that anger. James 1:19-20 says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” (NIV).

I’ve seen a lot of leaders who were highly effective for the Lord blow their ministry in an impulsive moment. Don’t let that happen to you. Get angry, but then take some time to think and pray about what to do next.

3. Rebuke the person individually. (v. 7)

Go directly to the source. You don’t deal with somebody else about it. You don’t talk with five or six different people to get everybody on your side. You don’t say, “I’ve got a prayer request . . .” and then spout it out.

Instead, you go directly to the person causing the disunity. Nehemiah did that: “I pondered them in my mind and then accused the nobles and officials. I told them ‘You are exacting usury from your own countrymen!’” (Nehemiah 5:7 NIV).

Nehemiah wasn’t making a polite social visit. He was angry, and he didn’t gloss over the fact that these guys were ripping off other people. He wasn’t watering it down. He was confronting the troublemakers. You and I are called to do that, too, when disunity threatens our churches.

Titus 3:10-11 says, “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self‑condemned”(NIV).

Warning troublemakers is an important task of ministry.

4. Publicly deal with public divisions. (v. 7)

In Nehemiah’s situation, everyone knew that the rich people were ripping off the poor. He had to deal with it publicly. Nehemiah 5:7 says when going privately to the rich officials didn’t work, he called together a large meeting to deal with them. It must have been a tough conversation because it was probably the rich officials paying most of the expenses to rebuild the wall. It took guts to confront them publicly.

You, too, have to deal with problems to the degree that they are known. If the problem has spread to the whole church, then you have to deal with the problem publicly.

5. Set an example of unselfishness. (v. 10)

Nehemiah led the way in unselfishness. It was the foundation of his leadership. When he asked them to rebuild the wall, he was out on the wall rebuilding it. When he asked them to pray, he had already been praying. When he asked them to work night and day to get it built, he did the same. When he asked them to help the poor, we find out in verse 10 he’d already been doing it.

Nehemiah never asked anyone to do what he wasn’t already doing or wasn’t willing to do. Leaders only ask others to do what they are already doing or are willing to do. If you cannot challenge someone to follow your example, whatever you say to them is going to lose its impact. Churches have fewer conflicts when their leaders live unselfishly and model that to the congregation.

You’re going to have disagreements in your church. There’s no perfect church. But God wants us to minimize disunity in our churches for his glory. The testimony of a church should not be the beautiful buildings, great sermons, or lovely music, but how the people love one another.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rick Warren

Rick Warren

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.

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The Challenge of Conflict, Part Two: Taming It

How do you handle church conflict?

No matter how you define it, conflict is a serious issue that all church leaders face – all too often. You would think that a church “family” should be able to avoid conflict. But how often does your own biological family go through conflict of various intensities?

Your church family consists of hundreds or thousands of complex human relationships, all brought together under the banner of worshipping and serving God in this particular place and time.

You’ve invested yourself heavily in these relationships – as has everyone else to varying degrees. We all have expectations of each other – and when those are not met, the seeds of conflict are planted. Left unaddressed these small seeds can grow into a garden of weeds that choke out the healthy dialog needed to restore the relationship. The longer the situation goes untended, the greater the issue(s) magnify – until the weeds have taken over the garden and any hope of bearing fruit has been squeezed out entirely.

Is it possible to avoid conflict entirely? In a word, no. We’re too “human” to hope for that.

Can we transform and redeem conflict from a destructive force to one in which all parties come through the other side, better for the experience? In a word, yes. We’re children of a loving Father, and His love can see us through any level of conflict.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Discover Your Conflict Management Style, by Speed B. Leas

Speed B. Leas helps readers to assess their conflict response and discover options appropriate to different levels of conflict.

He draws on years of experience helping conflicted congregations to provide valuable insights on the nature of conflict and its resolution, making this an excellent tool for raising self-awareness and a practical introduction to conflict management.

This new edition contains an improved Conflict Strategy Instrument, revised to reflect new learnings and more accurately describe your conflict management style.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

When faced with almost any situation in life, most of us will respond on the basis of how we have handled similar encounters. Our response pattern is also influenced by the issue at hand or the individuals involved. For example, an individual may find controlling the conversation during an argument works best with his spouse. That same pattern will usually be taken in similar conflicts with others.

This “conflict management style” may be intentionally or unintentionally selected. It may also change depending on the specific circumstances surrounding the conflict.

If you accept the principle that conflict is a part of life, and that, over time, we adopt specific conflict management styles, then the natural progression delivers this: Identifying and understanding our conflict management styles will usually help us work through conflicts in a quicker and more satisfactory conclusion for all parties involved.

Understanding your conflict management style will help you become more comfortable with differences and encourage open and confident sharing of differences and concerns with one another.

This instrument identifies six different styles for managing differences: Persuading, Compelling, Avoiding/Accommodating, Collaborating, Negotiating, and Supporting.

Each can be an appropriate style, and none should be thought of as “bad” or inferior. A certain style can cause a problem when it is used inappropriately, but one should not assume that Avoiding is always wrong or that all conflicts must be confronted.

Persuasion strategies are those where a person or group attempts to change another’s point of view, way of thinking, feelings, or ideas. One attempting to persuade another uses rational approaches, deductive and inductive argument, and any other verbal means she thinks will work to convince the other that her opinion is the one that should prevail.

Most of the Compelling we experience in our day-to-day lives is not through the use of physical force but that which comes through the use of authority. Authority is the right we give to a person or group to make certain decisions for us – because it is expedient or because we can’t agree. Authority comes through a tacit or explicit contract we make with others.

When one Avoids a conflict, one evades or stays away from it, attempting to skirt it or keep it from happening. Ignoring a conflict is acting as if it weren’t going on. Fleeing is actively removing yourself from the arena in which conflict might take place. When you accommodate, you go along with the other, with the opposition. Procrastination is a common strategy used to avoid, ignore, or accommodate. Putting off dealing with the conflict may be the most common way that this set of strategies is used.

Collaborative conflict strategies are frequently touted as the best or only strategy to use when dealing with conflict. When one collaborates, one co-labors, works together, with others on the resolution of the difficulties that are being experienced.

Negotiating refers to a strategy that is very similar to Collaboration, except that the expectations of the parties are lower as they enter the conflict arena. People who use Negotiation are trying to get as much as they can, assuming that they will not get everything they want.

Often called communication skills or active listening, Support strategies assume that the other is the one with the problem. It is your task NOT to take responsibility for dealing with it, but to help the other deal with the problem.

Speed B. Leas, Discover Your Conflict Management Style

A NEXT STEP

Use the following team exercise to help everyone understand the different types of conflict management styles.

Create a fictional congregational situation that has the potential for being divisive. Develop a back-story and supporting characters.

Ask each member of your team to undertake one of the six types of conflict management styles listed above. If you have more than six on your team, partner up with others so there are six groups.

With the fictional situation in mind, allow 15 minutes for each group to develop a brief presentation for the rest of their group, based on their assigned conflict management style. The presentation should include highlights or bullet points written on a chart tablet.

When everyone has completed their work, have each group present their work to the entire team.

After each team has made their presentation, enter into a team discussion, working through each of the six conflict management styles. Ask individual team members to share which of the six they are most comfortable using, and which is most uncomfortable.

In closing, challenge the team to review and keep in mind these six conflict management styles as they lead their individual teams.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix Issue 66-2, issued May 2017


 

This is part of a weekly series posting content from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix Book Summaries for church leaders.

SUMS Remix takes a practical problem in the church and looks at it with three solutions; each solution is taken from a different book. Additionally, a practical action step is included with each solution.

As a church leader you get to scan relevant books based on practical tools and solutions to real ministry problems, not just by the cover of the book. Each post will have the edition number which shows the year and what number it is in the overall sequence. (SUMS Remix provides 26 issues per year, delivered every other week to your inbox). 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company. He joined Auxano in 2012.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

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4 Mistakes to Avoid When Dealing with Conflict

Conflict is going to happen. After sin entered the world through the disobedience of Adam and Eve, God told Eve that the relationship with her husband would no longer be perfect: “Your desire will be for your husband, yet he will rule over you” (Genesis 3:16). Scholars have pointed out that the same wording of desire and ruling is used in the following chapter to describe Cain’s relationship to sin (Genesis 4:7). So often conflict in our relationships with one another is the result of sin.

Many of the letters in the Bible, the epistles we learn so much about God from, were written because there was conflict in the churches. God redeemed the conflict by giving us great books in the Bible for our encouragement and growth.

Of course, not all conflict is bad. Some conflict is really healthy tension, but unhealthy and sinful conflict destroys. Unhealthy conflict spoils the unity and morale of the team. Unhealthy conflict distracts from the mission. As this type of conflict arises, here are four mistakes leaders make:

1. Ignoring

Many a leader has said, “I just don’t like conflict.” But the longer conflict goes unaddressed, the worse it gets. Burying your head in the sand does not make the conflict go away. It only exasperates the pain and fallout when you finally pull your head out of the sand. A leader who ignores conflict is abdicating leadership responsibility. A leader who ignores conflict is being unloving to those he/she serves as the culture of the team disintegrates.

2. Being vague

Without specificity in a confrontation, it is improbable the person can adjust. When addressing conflict, being vague with statements like “I just sense something is off” or “I am uncomfortable about the vibe I am feeling” harms more than helps. A lack of clarity in confrontation is crushing. A person being confronted without clarity is likely to trust the team less, and the lack of trust will only create more relational strife.

 3. Over-involving others

Relational and team conflict should first be addressed between those involved in the conflict. When leaders unnecessarily involve others in an issue that could be easily handled, the residue of the conflict can remain in the minds of others long after resolution has occurred between those who were at odds with one another. (I am referring to relational conflict, not issues that should be brought to light for broad exposure.)

 4. Not distinguishing between sin and style

Confronting someone for habitual sin that results in conflict (dishonesty, divisive attitude, gossip, etc.) should be handled differently than confronting someone for a leadership style that is out of sync with the context or a lack of competence that is causing strife. People who don’t match the culture of a team or who lack competence in their role should not be confronted as if they are in sin. While the issues must be addressed, their character and integrity should be affirmed in the midst of the process. At the same time, people who cause conflict because of their sin should be confronted for their sin. They should be lovingly challenged to repent for their own sake and for the sake of the teams they will serve on in the future.

Ultimately, unhealthy conflict among leaders impacts the people the leaders are seeking to serve. Conflict will always exist while we live this side of eternity. Wise leaders recognize this reality and seek to handle it with wisdom and compassion.

> Read more from Eric.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

8 Actions of a Confident Leader in the Face of Conflict

Balancing conflict is inevitable.

Most of the time, I find that I am either coming out of conflict, in the midst of it, or heading back into the storm of a new one. Conflict has the power to derail focus, upset strategy, and erode confidence. Every day a leader has the opportunity to move past the obstacles of life with confidence.

When I think about people in the Bible who had confidence in the midst of conflict- Joseph always comes to mind. From Genesis 37-41 we watch Joseph ride a conflict roller-coaster. He was sold into slavery by his brothers, wrongfully accused of raping his boss’s wife, thrown into prison, and forgotten by someone who could have helped him. When the time comes for him to be brought before Pharaoh, instead of seeing it as an opportunity to prove himself or a moment to escape his circumstances, he stands in confidence. When asked by Pharaoh if he could interpret dreams, Joseph’s response is: “I can’t, but God can.” Joseph found confidence in God’s abilities, not his own. He realized that God was orchestrating all his circumstances, which included conflict.

In the face of conflict a confident leader:

  • responds in faith
  • accuses no one
  • accepts his/her circumstances
  • is patient with others
  • doesn’t complain
  • is not afraid of the outcome
  • has focus
  • embraces unknown seasons because he/she knows who makes the seasons in the first place

It’s not what I know, but who I know that helps me move from conflict to confidence.

In the midst of circumstances full of conflict, there is a prime opportunity to take our eyes off the immediate trouble surrounding us and place them on the one in whom we can have full confidence. In John 16:33, Jesus says,

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, because I have overcome the world!”

Conflict should always accompany confidence, because we have the help of the one who knows the end of the story.

Take a next step, or as I like to call a test drive, and discover what confidence looks like in the eyes of those closest to you.

Email two close friends and ask them two questions. 

It’s important that these people are close because you are going to ask them for feedback into your life. If they don’t really know you then this exercise won’t create the impact that you’re looking for. This email is meant to sharpen you in your own personal leadership journey. Once you determine who those people will be, I want you to ask them two questions.

Download this email template with instructions and content. Simply copy, paste, and send as a test drive.

> Read more from Chris.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chris Rivers

Chris Rivers

Over the last eight years, Chris has worked with ministry leaders to provide solutions to the challenge of vision transfer in the areas of finance, process, and leadership development. In 2008, he partnered with a startup called SecureGive. SecureGive was the nation's first giving kiosk designed to help churches empower their people who wanted to give but did not carry cash or a checkbook. Chris then joined a new division of Shelby Systems called ArenaChMS, where he collaborated with church staff of various ministry departments to create customized solutions for their ministry needs. In 2010, Chris joined the staff at NewSpring Church in Anderson, S.C., to help them rethink church technology. During his time at NewSpring Church, Chris created a staff development program that would transition new staff into ministry with clarity. Within 18 months of launching staff development, NewSpring hired 147 additional staff members, which nearly doubled the staff’s size. Increasingly pastors were asking him for ideas about better strategizing their visions, which led Chris to create CultureBus, an online training resource that gives ministry leaders practical ways to transfer vision to their teams. Chris lives in Anderson, S.C, with his wife, Rachel, and their three children, Riley, Finn, and Blythe. You can follow Chris on his blog at culturebus.cc.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

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Seven Suggestions for Dealing with Differences of Opinion in Your Church

At a recent conference the three of us on the panel (all pastors) were asked the question, “As a layperson, should I start a grassroots movement to change my church?” All three of us basically said, “No.” Following the conference I got a long and heated email from someone who was very upset with my answer. He thought I was guilty of clericalism and gave no place for the laity to know anything, do anything, or ever question the pastor. That was certainly not what I said, nor, so far as I can tell, what most people thought we were communicating. But his concerns got my blogging juices flowing. The initial question about forming a grassroots movement to change a local church is one I’ve gotten in one form or another several times in the past five years. So perhaps it would be helpful to spell out my answer in a little more detail.

The Situation

Here’s the kind of situation I’ve been presented with many times. It’s what I assumed was behind the question at this recent conference.

You are at a church that doesn’t share your theology or seems to be heading in the wrong theological direction. Naturally, you are concerned and want to do something about it. You are sad to see your church change for the worse or sad to see your church less than what it should be. You wonder what you can do to help get things on track.

This situation usually arises for one of two reasons. Either you have recently come to a better theological understanding yourself and now see deficiencies in your pastor and in your church which you didn’t see before, or your church recently brought in a new pastor who is setting things on a different theological trajectory. There are, of course, variations to these two scenarios. Maybe you were brought on staff at a theologically weak church. Maybe your pastor has been drifting in recent years. Maybe your church just allowed something you disagree with (or just disallowed something you agree with). There are several permutations to the problem, but the basic contours stay the same: either you’ve changed or the church has changed, and the result in both cases is that the two aren’t lining up like they used to.

So what should you do?

Seven Suggestions

1. Pray for a humble heart. Make sure you aren’t being censorious. Check for plank-in-eye syndrome. Be sure you are giving your pastor and your church the benefit of the doubt. Ask the Lord for an open heart and an open mind.

2. Take note of your position. How you think about laboring for change in your church, and how you think of whether to work for change at all, has everything to do with your position in the church. Have you been at the church for decades or did you join two months ago? Have you proved yourself as a faithful servant in the body? Are you one of the official leaders of the church? An informal leader? A staff member? One of the others elders or pastors? The more designated authority you have–either by virtue of office, by virtue of maturity, or by virtue of years of service–the more you should do to work for change. The less you have, the less you should try to do.

3. Try to discern the relative importance of your concerns. Are you upset about preferences or about something more serious? Are your concerns about the character of your pastor or his personality? Are your theological concerns weighty or trivial? And if they are weighty, are they up for discussion in your church? If you’ve come to the Reformed faith in the midst of a Wesleyan church you have no business trying to make that congregation in the image of the Westminster Confession. Likewise, people in confessional churches (e.g., Reformed, Presbyterian, Lutheran) should not be surprised when their pastors teach the faith expressly laid down in their historic tradition.

4. Don’t talk up your concerns. Beware of building up an ever expanding circle of discontents. You may have to talk to a few persons for counsel. You may even know many other likeminded persons in the congregation. But your goal must not be to create a church within a church.

5. Consider encouraging your pastor with positive reinforcement. Find what you can commend and commend it. If your pastor is in need of more theological precision and development you may be able to give him good books to read–not usually polemical books championing your agenda, but positive devotional and theological works that give him a taste for sound doctrine. Maybe you can nudge your pastor toward a good conference or even take him to one yourself. If he is young or simply drifting a bit, your pastor may be open to gentle strengthening and redirection.

6. Consider prayerfully the course of direct confrontation. The pastor is not beyond correction. He can make mistakes. He can fall into error. He can get off track. He can grow proud. If after prayerful reflection you conclude that your concerns are serious and the trajectory worsening, set up a time to talk to your pastor or elders directly. I’ve never begrudged anyone coming to me with thoughtful concerns in a kind, humble way. Sometimes I agree with them. Sometimes I disagree. But I’m glad when they come to me or one of the elders directly.

7. Consider when it is time to leave. If your new theological convictions are out of step with the entire history and identity of the church, it’s best not to strategize for underground change. If a new pastor has come in and is moving things in a very different direction–with the full knowledge and blessing of the elders and with enthusiasm from most of the congregation–it’s best not to start a grassroots movement for reformation. If you’ve tried direct communication and the pastor or leaders tell you, in effect, “Thank you, but we see things a different way,” it’s best not to fight them tooth and nail. If David did not lay a hand on Saul as the Lord’s anointed, we should be very cautious about launching a guerrilla movement to take down our duly-appointed pastors and elders.

In rare occasions where the theological differences amount to heresy (or are clearly out of bounds with your confessional documents), or when your personal concerns relate to scandalous behavior, you may pursue church discipline and file charges, but only if you are following the steps of Matthew 18. In most cases where members are concerned with the direction of the church, the issues are important but not so egregious as to merit a formal process of discipline. In these instances, after working through steps 1-6 (and doing so with patience, not in a fit of passion), the concerned church member can either peaceably submit or quietly leave.

Summing Up

Please hear what I am saying and not saying. I’m not saying you shouldn’t talk to your pastor or work for change. I’m not saying the local congregation is the personal fiefdom for the pastor. I’m not saying pastors can’t learn much from laypeople in the congregation. What I am saying is that practically you should not spend your life trying to do what has very little chance of success, theologically you should obey and respect your leaders, and spiritually you should not be divisive.

And lest this sound like I’m trying to protect my turf as a pastor, let me make clear that I am not addressing this question because it is a live issue in my congregation. I’m thinking of good folks in other churches who largely share my theology and have the very good desire to influence their local church for good. That’s what I took to be the context for the question at the conference. I want to commend these brothers and sisters for their discernment and encourage them in prizing theological depth and integrity. But we should also remember that seeking the things that make for “unity, purity, and peace” (as our membership vows put it), sometimes entails being peaceable enough to find unity with another body that has the purity you are looking for.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kevin DeYoung

I am the Senior Pastor at University Reformed Church(RCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State University. I’ve been the pastor there since 2004. I was born in Chicagoland, but grew up mostly in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. I root for da Bears, da Bulls, da Blackhawks, the White Sox, and the Spartans. I have been married to Trisha since January 2002. We live in East Lansing and have five young children.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.