Monday
Oct172011

Haugk, Antagonists in the Church

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Kenneth Haugk, Antagonists in the Church: How to Identify and Deal with Destructive Conflict. Augsburg Fortress, 1988.

Referenced in: Church Conflict - Criticism, Difficult People, Difficult Conversations

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This is the long recognized standard on the subject of difficult people in congregations. Haugk defines “antagonists” as individuals who, on the basis of nonsubstantive evidence, go out of their way to make insatiable demands, usually attacking the person or performance of others. These attacks are selfish in nature, tearing down rather than building up, and are frequently directed against those in a leadership capacity. He draws careful distinction between hard core, major, and moderate antagonists, what circumstances (conflict levels) move them to come forward, and their spiritual and psychological manifestations. He discusses why congregations are especially vulnerable to such people. The book presents a biblical perspective on destructive conflict, how to identify antagonists (personality characteristics, warning signs, red flags), how to create environments less conducive to antagonists, and how to educate leaders, relate to dormant antagonists, and deal privately and publicly with antagonists. This is a rich and useful text.

From the Publisher

Antagonism exists in the church. It leaves in its wake broken lives: people who are hurt, discouraged, and apathetic. Although only a very few persons are antagonists, these individuals have the potential to disrupt and even destroy a congregation’s mission and ministry.

Who are Antagonists?

“Antagonists are individuals who on the basis of nonsubstantive evidence, go out of their way to make insatiable demands, usually attacking the person or performance of others. These attacks are selfish in nature, tearing down rather than building up, and are frequently directed against those in a leadership capacity.”

In this balanced and practical book, Kenneth Haugk shows how congregational leaders can learn to prevent or reduce much of the pain and suffering caused by antagonism; tell the difference between constructive, healthy conflict and destructive antagonism; and cope with antagonism when it arises.

About the Author

Kenneth C. Haugk, Ph.D., pastor and clinical psychologist, is founder of the Stephen Series system of lay caring ministry. He is executive director of Stephen Ministries, a transdenominational organization based in St. Louis, Missouri. Dr Haugk is the author of the best-selling book Christian Caregiving—A Way of Life, and is an active speaker and consultant on such topics as spiritual gifts, inactive member ministry, and church and business antagonism.


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***For additional information on this resource, including reviews, click the bookstore links. Check the reference at page top or the links below for resource guides on related topics.***

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