Entries in Conflict (12)

Monday
Mar192012

Cox, Faith-Based Reconciliation

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Brian Cox, Faith-Based Reconciliation: A Moral Vision That Transforms People and Societies. Xlibris, 2007.

Referenced in: Conflict Education, Biblical Visions of Peacemaking/Reconciliation

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This is a dense, rich look into interfaith and ethnic conflict or other situations with deeply entrenched alternative moral visions such as nationalism, liberal democracy/free market capitalism, or militant Islam. The authors focus applications on the current collision course between the two ideologies of American primacy and global Jihad. Cox uses his theological training as an Episcopal priest to articulate a vision of faith-based reconciliation in eight core values (17-18):

  1. The pluralistic vision of community: We seek unity in the midst of diversity.
  2. Compassionate inclusion: We seek to overcome hostility by the practice of unconditional love, even toward one’s enemies.
  3. Peacemaking: We seek the peaceful resolution of conflicts between individuals and groups.
  4. Social Justice: We seek the common good through transformation of the community.
  5. Forgiveness: We exercise forgiveness and repentance as individuals and communities to create the possibility of a better future together.
  6. Healing: We seek to heal the wounds of history through acknowledgement of suffering and injustice.
  7. Acknowledging God’s sovereignty: This is the bedrock of the faith-based perspective.
  8. Atonement with God: Ultimately, reconciliation is the process of finding peace with God and becoming a person of faith.

He continues:

At the heart of these eight core values [is] the Abrahamic concept of God’s sovereignty or rule over societies and nations. In the New Testament Jesus taught that God’s sovereign rule would establish the common good, namely, a society based on respect for the dignity of every human being, the economics of compassion, the politics of love, the power of truth, and stewardship embodied in voluntary sacrifice. This was an ancient, but radical moral vision in its day and it still retains its revolutionary, transformational character in our day. It challenges people of faith in every age to a fundamental reorientation of their personhood and to the implementation of this vision in their societies. The apostle Paul called this radical moral vision “reconciliation.” (17-18)

Regardless of the context in which one experiences conflict, whether interpersonal, congregational, national, or global, this is a refreshing and well-articulated vision of biblical reconciliation. One may need to refine it at various points, but it is still one of the best expressions available.

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

From the Publisher

FAITH-BASED RECONCILIATION A Moral Vision That Transforms People and Societies Written by an experienced practitioner in the field of faith-based diplomacy who has worked in some of the world’s roughest neighborhoods, this book begins with the premise that moral vision plays a key role in shaping individuals and communities.

It’s primary message is that the Abrahamic moral vision shared by Jews, Christians and Muslims, which is embodied as faith-based reconciliation, is a fresh approach to intractable identity-based conflict, an alternative to religious extremism and an ancient paradigm needed for the twenty first century.

A must read for today’s policymakers and for political, religious and social leaders.

About the Author

Canon Brian Cox is an ordained Episcopal priest and a trained professional mediator who serves as a pastor; as a senior official of a Washington DC based non-governmental organization; and as a director of a law school-based academic program in faith-based diplomacy. He has been a pioneer in developing the faith-based reconciliation process as a religious framework for problem solving in intractable identity-based conflicts.


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Monday
Mar122012

Osterhaus, Thriving Through Ministry Conflict

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James P. Osterhaus, Joseph M. Jurkowski, Todd A. Hahn, Thriving through Ministry Conflict: By Understanding Your Red and Blue Zones. Zondervan, 2005.

Referenced in:

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This reads like a helpful coaching session for church leaders in conflict to navigate their personal feelings, assess and adjust their behaviors, understand congregatioanl dynamics, and to move beyond mere conflict management to more robust change leadership (thus the idea of “thriving” in the experience). A key is to move conflict from the “Red Zone,” where one takes things personally and charges the conflict with escalating negative emotions, into the “Blue Zone” that looks at it more professionally and enables a posture of emotional calm that focuses on results. The zone in which leaders reside touches everyone around them, often signaling a similar reaction/response in them.

This book also guides leaders who are in the throes of conflict to deal effectively with their own “stuff” and become a resource to their congregations. Some literature of this genre is strong on diagnosis, insisting that ministers understand the emotional selves they bring to conflicts (which is indeed important), but failing to offer real strategies for the present. This volume balances the dimension of dealing long term with one’s “stuff” alongside the more immediate need to act productively to help the congregation through. I highly recommend this book.

From the Publisher

Church conflict doesn’t have to be an enemy that tears a congregation apart. By learning how to handle it wisely, pastors and church leaders can make resistance one of their most valuable allies. Far from fearing conflict, leaders can turn it into a catalyst for positive change and a stronger, more united church.

Through the fictional story of a typical pastor embroiled in conflict, Thriving through Ministry Conflict shows how to handle and resolve conflict in a healthy way. By working through a series of response activities and discussion questions, the reader will gain powerful insights into the emotional dynamics of conflict. Here are the knowledge and tools that can help pastors and church leaders trade self-defeating responses to conflict for an empowering, constructive approach; gain a working command of key conflict survival principles; and cultivate the skills needed to effectively navigate the conflicts every ministry leader faces.organizations.

About the Authors

Jim Osterhaus, (PhD, American University) a partner and consultant for The Armstrong Group, has been quoted in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Seattle Times, and many other leading publications. He is a psychologist, dynamic executive coach, and public speaker with extensive experience in helping individuals move through change, conflict, and reorganization. He has authored seven books and written dozens of articles for magazines and trade journals around the country. His latest book, co-authored with Kevin Ford, is The Thing in the Bushes - Turning Organizational Blind Spots into Competitive Advantage (Pinon Press).

Joseph M. Jurkowski (M.A. University of Maryland) is the president, chief mobilization officer and one of the founding partners for The Armstrong Group and founder of the Counseling Center of Fairfax, Va. He has worked with Fortune 500 executives as a strategic thinker in conflict resolution, a leader in applying systems theory in organizational settings, an entrepreneur, and a well-respected leader in his work with the federal government. He has appeared in such diverse publications as Entrepreneur, the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Washington Post, and CU Times.

Todd Hahn (M.Div Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary) is a nationally recognized expert on helping churches understand and reach Generation X, adding and programming alternative worship services, and coaching churches through church planting and satellite campus development. He is widely known for his speaking at workshops and conferences at the denominational level and also in the local church context, as well as planting one of the nation’s fastest growing and innovative churches, in North Carolina. Todd is the coauthor of Genxers After God: Helping a Generation Pursue Jesus and Reckless Hope: Understanding and Reaching Baby Busters, and author of Song of the 2nd Fiddle.


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Monday
Mar122012

Sawyer, Hope in Conflict, Wisdom in Congregational Turmoil

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David R. sawyer, Hope in Conflict: Discovering Wisdom in Congregational Turmoil. Pilgrim Press, 2007.

Referenced in:

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

The contribution of this volume is its refreshing hopefulness that church conflicts and crises can and often are redeemed into new life for congregations. This would be a good read for ministers who are discouraged by seemingly insurmountable and irreversible conditions, but who remain committed to see God work in his time to restore life and harmony to the church.

Sawyer draws from emotional systems, pastoral theology, and case studies to encourage beleagured church leaders to adopt a “sense of mystery” that looks beneath and beyond the uncertainties of church conflict and into the strategic, hopeful possibilities that often exist deep within difficult situations. This hopefulness stems from the spiritual reality that God’s work in conflict often exceeds human comprehension and control. Churches must posture themselves to work cooperatively with God and be used redemptively by him. In this respect, Sawyer prefers “conflict utilization” rather than the “conflict management,” which often suggests more human direction and control. While affirming the value of techniques, he says these often cloud the “the deeper, hidden, emotional interrelationships at work.”

Also, while Sawyer makes good use of emotional systems, he implies that systems theory is too strongly “horizontal” (i.e. focuses on human emotional processes). Instead, theology introduces a transcendant dimension wherein, “the congregation’s stories are often windows into the active movement of God in the congregation, and they indicate the openness to the future that God desires for them.” One may integrate systems to examine the congregation’s “structures, stories, and symptoms,” as well as its “interconnectedness” and “interrelatedness.” Believers must move a step beyond, however, to lean into the future resulting from God’s surprising work.

Sawyer provides a refreshing, balanced perspective for church conflict.

From the Publisher

This helpful guide shows pastors how to look beyond the superficial or most obvious reasons for a particular conflict within their own church, find what is hopeful in the conflict, and reframe the situation, giving the congregation the strength to change it as well.

About the Author

David R. Sawyer has spent most of his ministry near the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. He came from near the confluence of those two rivers to Louisville to attend LPTS, was ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in Southeastern Illinois Presbytery, did his advanced degree in organizational communication in the southeastern corner of Ohio, served churches in Cincinnati and Minneapolis, and worked on the presbytery staff in St. Louis. Returning to Louisville Seminary as teacher and administrator in 2002, he employed the great rivers watershed system as a metaphor for understanding the church as a human system, and for the responsibility of church leaders to tend the health and transformation of that system. Currently he and his wife, Dr. Deborah Fortel are writing a new book on the questions flourishing churches ask.


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Monday
Mar122012

Maynard, When Sheep Attack

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Dennis R. Maynard, When Sheep Attack. CreateSpace, 2010.

Referenced in:

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

Maynard addresses what happens when a small group of antagonists maneuver successfully to completely derail a ministry, despite strong support from the vast majority of the congregation. This is not the norm, but neither is it uncommon, and it is always painful.

This is in the same genre as other volumes such as Clergy Killers and Antagonists in the Church, but with the difference that it addresses primarily Episcopals (though the insights translate well into other contexts) and targets the extreme situations where antagonism leads to the minister’s dismissal. It is based on interviews with twenty-five ministers and church members who have experienced this tragedy. Maynard describes the process that typically transpires, how members can work to reverse the tragedy, and how minister and members may recover.

From the Publisher

Do you love your parish? Are you fond of your pastor? Would you believe that in just a matter of a few weeks your pastor and his family could be abused, humiliated, and unemployed? In just a matter of days your parish could be split down the middle. A couple of months from now close to forty percent of the people you currently see at worship could no longer be there. Close to half of those will never again attend worship or participate in any church. Friends that you see talking and laughing this Sunday may never speak again. If you want to do whatever you can to keep that scenario from happening to your pastor and your parish, then this book is for you.

It is the product of nearly a decade of work with parishes that are undergoing or have recently undergone the very scenario described above. The substance of this book is based on twenty-five case studies of clergy exercising faithful ministries with positive results that were attacked by a small group of antagonists in their congregations. The antagonists successfully “removed their senior pastor.” This book describes how it happened, what could have been to stop it, and what can be done to prevent it from happening to your pastor and parish.

About the Author

The Reverend Doctor Dennis R. Maynard is the author of ten books. He has served as a consultant to over one hundred parish and school boards in the United States and Canada.


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Monday
Mar122012

Galloway and Bird, Innovative Transitions

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Dale Galloway and Warren Bird, Innovative Transitions: How Change Can Take Your Church to the Next Level. Beacon Hill Press, 2007.

Referenced in:

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This volume tells the stories of several churches that have experienced challenging transitions under a variety of circumstances, including:

  • A congregation that was near closing its doors but experienced revitalization
  • A church that could not conceive of a way beyond its demise but prayed diligently and witnessed a revival.
  • A conflicted church that made peace and became more productive.
  • An under-resourced and conflicted staff that learned how function as a ministry team.
  • A discouraged church that found new life by tapping into existing talent.

The authors close by extracting from these stories ten general principles of congregational spiritual growth.

I have placed this book into three categories. It tells the story of how some congregations have embraced or initiated change that often involved dimensions of conflict but which always led to significant church renewal. The stories will both instruct and inspire.

From the Publisher

Change is vital to the life of a church. Pastors and church leaders continually seek new ways to improve their church’s health, community, and outward compassion. They study the trends, attend seminars, and research new programs. But when it comes to actually implementing or moving toward a transition, many leaders hesitate—uncertain how to initiate or shepherd the change. It’s one thing to want to transition—it’s another to know how.

In Innovative Transitions, well-known pastor Dale Galloway and church researcher Warren Bird team up to give church leaders practical methods to move their churches from comfortable maintenance to genuine, vibrant mission. They share 15 inspiring stories of successful turnaround churches, each of which models a unique style of transition. From leadership development to a renewed vision for outreach, they offer insight and transferable principles for church leaders to use—regardless of church size or denomination. Their innovative ideas will help leaders successfully implement change as their church transitions from one generation to another.

Filled with poignant scriptures, questions for discussion, and relevant examples, Innovative Transitions will sharpen your understanding of church growth and show you new opportunities to take Christ into the world.

About the Authors

Dale E. Galloway is dean of Asbury Theological Seminary’s Beeson International Center for Biblical Preaching and Church Leadership in Wilmore, Kentucky. He is the former pastor of New Hope Community Church in Portland, Oregon, a congregation that he nurtured from a handful of parishioners in a drive-in theater in 1972 to more than 6,000 by the time he left. Dr. Galloway has authored 21 books such as On-Purpose Leadership, Starting a New Church, and Taking Risks in Ministry.

Warren Bird, Ph.D., is Research Director at Leadership Network, and co-author of 21 books on various aspects of church health and innovation. Bird researches cutting-edge churches and works with their leaders to multiply their evangelistic and disciple-making impact.

***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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Saturday
Nov052011

Goulston, Just Listen

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Mark Goulston, M. D., Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone. Amacom, 2009

Referenced in:

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This is a fascinating look at the dynamics of difficult conversations. While not written with church leadership in mind, it translates well into ministry contexts. It operates on a counter-intuitive principle that in order to get through in difficult situations, the best posture is not to upshift through persuasion and argument, which creates resistance, but to downshift through the skills of active listening. The terms Goulston uses to refer to active listening are standard to other literature on the subject - listen, ask, mirror, reflect back to others what you’ve heard, etc. A part of Goulston’s uniqueness, however, is that he has used these skills extensively to, in his own words, “fix broken families and help warring couples fall in love again…save companies on the brink of meltdown, get feuding managers to work together effectively, empower sales people to make ‘impossible’ sales…[and] help FBI agents and hostage negotiators succeed in the toughest negotiations possible.” These experiences, bolstered by his own research as a psychiatrist, have led to this helpful manual.

The focus or central tenet, or as Goulston says, the promise of this book is that “the secret of getting through to absolutely anyone is that you get through to people by having them “buy-in.” Buy-in occurs when people move from resisting to listening to considering what you are saying. He presents a Persuasion Cycle that moves in this sequence:

  • From resisting to listening
  • From listening to considering
  • From considering to willing to do
  • From willing to do to doing
  • From doing to glad they did and continuing to do.(8)

The key to the whole cycle is not telling, but listening.

In the book, Goulston bolsters the cycle with brain science. Supposedly, the persuasion cycle overcomes a “mirror neuron receptor deficit.” People long for love and approval. If they operate consistently with little reciprocation, they fall back into the reptilian or mammal brain. The persuasion cycle creates a connection that activates the “empathy neurons” and leads people to more cooperative behavior.

He then explains the Persuasion Cycle in terms of “Nine Core Rules for Getting Through to Anyone.” Aside from the skills, this includes “Steering Clear of Toxic People” such as needy people, bullies, takers, narcissists, psychopaths, etc. From there, he suggests “12 Quick and Easy Ways to Achieve Buy-in and Get Through.” Finally, he applies these to seven common situations where this approach is helpful.

This is an excellent text, highly recommended on many levels - leadership, pastoral skills, conflict resolution, etc.

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

From the Publisher

You’ve got a business colleague who’s hostile…a client who’s furious…a staffer who’s deeply cynical—how do you get people to do what you want in tough situations like these? In Just Listen, veteran psychiatrist and business coach Mark Goulston reveals the secret to how to get through to anyone, even when productive communication seems impossible.

“Here’s the challenge,” Mark says. “People have their own needs, desires, and agendas. They have secrets they’re hiding from you. And they’re stressed, busy, and often feeling like they’re in over their heads. To cope, they throw up barricades that make it difficult to reach them even when your goals are in sync with their own.”

But the good news is that there are simple strategies that can make you compelling, and break down the walls that keep you from getting through to the people you need to buy into your ideas and goals. Just Listen presents remarkably effective tools and techniques you can use whenever a job, a sale, or a relationship hangs in the balance.

How effective are Mark’s techniques? One of his areas of expertise is training FBI and police hostage negotiators to handle life-or-death situations. “The same tips I teach these professionals for building empathy, deescalating conflict, and gaining buy-in will work in any situation,” Mark says. “Whether you’re a new employee fresh out of school, a salesperson, or a CEO, once you master these skills you can take them wherever you go in your career.” And Mark has proven these strategies in his own 30-year career as a business coach at companies such as GE, IBM, Goldman Sachs, Kodak, Federal Express, Hyatt, and Disney.

With this powerful yet engaging book, you’ll learn how to:

  • Get the attention of a total stranger who you need to know—like that potential client you absolutely must land.
  • Talk an angry person up from an instinctual (irrational) state to receptivity, and finally to rationality—a skill that can save a job, a marriage, or even a life.
  • Use the “Magic Paradox”—a technique the author developed for hostage negotiators—to turn a negative person into an asset.
  • Master the critical art of buy-in (the foreplay of negotiation, persuasion, and selling) by moving anyone through the “Persuasion Cycle.”

Barricades between people become barriers to success, progress, and happiness; so getting through is not just a fine art, but a crucial skill. Just Listen gives you the techniques and confidence to approach the unreachable people in your life, and turn frustrating situations into productive outcomes and rewarding relationships.

Praise for Just Listen!

“I’ve already ordered copies for everyone in Mattel’s senior leadership team and for each of my grown kids.”— Bob Eckert, CEO and Chairman, Mattel

“This book will help you turn the impossible and unreachable people in your life into allies, devoted customers, loyal colleagues, and lifetime friends.” — Keith Ferrazzi, best-selling author of Who’s Got Your Back and Never Eat Alone

“Easy to read, easy to follow, and the results are astounding.” — Marshall Goldsmith, best-selling author of What Got You Here Won’t Get You There and Succession: Are You Ready?

“A groundbreaking work that all leaders, present and future, should read, and more important, practice.” — Warren Bennis, Distinguished Professor of Management, USC, and author of On Becoming a Leader

“Goulston’s book delivers on his promise. Read it and you will discover the secret to getting through to absolutely anyone, and I mean anyone!” — Mark Victor Hansen, co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul

“Goulston’s insights into human behavior are real gems.” — Steven B. Sample, President, University of Southern California; author of the best-selling book The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership

About the Author

Mark Goulston, M.D., is a psychiatrist, consultant, business coach, and is the author of Get Out of Your Own Way and Get Out of Your Own Way at Work. He writes a leadership column for Fast Company and the “Solve Anything with Dr. Mark” career advice column for Tribune Media Services. Named one of America’s Top Psychiatrists by the Consumers’ Research Council of America (2009, 2005, 2004), he is frequently quoted or featured in The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Fortune, Newsweek and others, and on CNN, NPR, Fox News, and BBC-TV. He lives in Los Angeles.


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Sunday
Oct162011

Justes, Hearing Beyond the Words

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Emma J. Justes, Hearing Beyond the Words: How to Become a Listening Pastor. Abingdon, 2006.

Referenced in:

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

Justes turns to the biblical image of hospitality for a theological grounding of the practice of listening. From this theology, she derives The Four Core Qualities of Hospitality: vulnerability, humility, availability, and mutuality.

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

From the Publisher

Only when pastors hear beyond the words, can they care-fully minister. Pastors listen all the time. Or do they? Listening is more than a developed skill; it is an awesome gift of hospitality offered to others. According to Dr. Emma Justes, hearing beyond the words signifies an intimate relationship characterize by humility, thoughtful availability, vulnerability, and mutuality. Listening requires focused attention and openness. To help the reader learn this essential skill, the author includes exercises at the end of each chapter to build needed competency for this healing ministry.

About the Author

Emma J. Justes is Professor of Pastoral Care and Pastoral Theology at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary and is a pastor at St. John African Methodist Episcopal Church.


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Sunday
Oct162011

Savage, Listening and Caring Skills for Ministry

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John Savage, Listening and Caring Skills for Ministry. Abingdon, 1996.

Referenced in: Leadership Development Through Communication Competence

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This is the basis of Dr. Savage’s program, Listening Laboratory I. It describes eleven deep-structure listening skills that have been found very effective in conveying a caring presence and helping others come to terms with their current life issues.

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

From the Publisher

The secret to leadership and transformation of a group—or of another person—is the quality of the relationship one person has with another. The effective group leader or counselor will be the person who learns how to listen to other people. By studying and employing listening skills, church leaders will engage others more compassionately, allowing them to feel that their needs are being met. These skills can be used with persons who are terminally ill, inactive at church, going through a divorce, in a family with a severely ill person, unemployed, seeking a new church, grieving, traumatized by catastrophe, going through teenage adolescence, in marriage counseling, or leading a ministry team.

John Savage offers eleven specific and teachable listening skills for improving relationships among those who do ministry in small-group settings or when offering counsel to others. The skills are taught through oral exercises and unfailingly helpful examples from actual congregational situations. The skills include paraphrasing, productive questions, perception check, expression of feelings and emotions, fogging, negative inquiry, behavior description, and story listening.

About the Author

Dr. John S. Savage is a United Methodist Minister and served as pastor for 26 years. He became the founder and president of L.E.A.D. Consultants, Inc. for 25 years. He is a lecturer, trainer, consultant, spiritual director, author, coach, designer of training systems in conflict manager and in-depth listening skills. He is a trained psychotherapist. He holds four earned degrees. A BM degree in music and a MA in education from Syracuse University, a MDiv and a DMin from Colgate Rochester Divinity School.


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Sunday
Oct162011

Petersen, Why Don't We Listen Better?

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James C. Petersen, D. Min., L.P.C. Why Don’t We Listen Better?: Communicating and Connecting in Relationships. Petersen Publications, 2007.

Referenced in: Leadership Development Through Communication Competence

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This volume, self-published by the author, emerges out of his nearly five decades of experience as a pastor and licensed professional counselor. For those who may discredit it as self-published, do not. It is substantive, deeply reflective of best practices, and very well written.

This text is not targeted to church leaders, but to the human experience in general. The focus is not on every dimension of the communication process, but more specifically on the capacity to listen more effectively in everyday encounters, and then respond from a posture where our brains are fully engaged and our emotions channeled so as to enhance one’s relationships.

By the author’s admission, one of the best ways to read this text is to start with chapter 18, Basic Listening Techniques, and then work through the rest of the book. This practical workbook is designed to be used in short sections, progressing through one skill at a time. It is divided into five major divisions (described on page 8):

  1. Part One – Exlpains the Flat Brain Theory of Emotions. This shows how difficult it is to communicate well when our emotions are on overload. It actually shows how good listening can often return us to a healthier emotional state. Here one finds some overlap with emotional systems theory.
  2. Part Two – Discusses the use of the Talker-Listener Card. It facilitates a good taking-turns system of communicating, reminding us to listen first and talk second.
  3. Part Three – Presents Basic Listening Techniques
  4. Parts Four and Five – Wraps up the Talker-Listener process with extended examples that deal with group issues and a closing section on learning to become “people in whose presence good things happen.”

Since this text represents a practical version of Petersen’s doctoral dissertation, it incorporates all of the best material one would expect from a guide in effective listening and self-presentation, yet packages it in a very useful format.

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

From the Publisher

Using a light touch and sensible techniques, Why Don’t We Listen Better? puts the experience of Jim Petersen s forty years of counseling and pastoral ministry at your service in improving your communication and relationships. A Talker-Listener Card process and specific listening techniques for instant use show you how to turn win-lose communication into come-alive cooperation.

About the Author

An experienced seminar and workshop leader, Jim Petersen has developed his own practical techniques for improving communication and relationships. Among them are the Flat-Brain Theory of Emotions and the Talker-Listener Card, key tools featured in Why Don’t We Listen Better? Communicating & Connecting in Relationships. Dr. Petersen s material has benefited corporate clients, city governments, colleges and universities, the hearing-impaired community, students, teachers, parents, couples, and churches. His informal manner endears him to novices and experts alike. In addition to communication work, he teaches courses and workshops in personal growth, informal peer counseling, problem solving, motivation and decision making, conflict resolution, life-planning, couples counseling, Biblical reflection, and discovering meaning through assessing life experiences. He provided pastoral leadership to three Presbyterian churches in Oregon over forty years. He was named Pastor Emeritus at Southminster Presbyterian Church in Beaverton Oregon, honoring his thirty-two year pastorate there. In retirement he maintains a counseling practice as a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Oregon. He specializes in counseling couples and teaching classes on effective communication. His degrees include Doctor of Ministry and Master of Divinity from San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo, California, and a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. On a more personal level he is an avid fisherman and plans his next book to be essays on his life-learnings from angling experiences. He plays tennis and a mean game of ping-pong and lives and travels with his writer wife, Sally.


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Sunday
Oct162011

Neff, A Pastor's Guide to Interpersonal Communication

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Blake Neff, A Pastor’s Guide to Interpersonal Communication: The Other Six Days (Haworth Series in Chaplaincy). Routledge, 2006.

Referenced in: Leadership Development Through Relational Competence

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This is perhaps the best introduction available of standard and advanced level communication skills for those in spiritual leadership positions. It is designed for use in college and seminary level training. It is the same genre as an older volume by Lawyer and Katz, Communication Skills for Ministry, which is very difficult to find. It may be regarded as the only accessible volume of its kind. It is academically responsible, professionally credible, and practically useful. It is comprehensive in the sense that it covers most conceivable areas where communication skills are important for pastoral functioning. Yet it is indeed introductory, and most readers will want a great deal more than Neff offers on various subjects. I highly recommend it and use it in my classes at Johnson University. See the Publisher’s Description below for a content summary.

From the Publisher

This book examines a variety of essential topics, including perception, self-disclosure, verbal and nonverbal messages, listening, stages of relational development, power assertiveness and dominance, conflict management, forgiveness, persuasion, dual relationships, pastoral family communication, and how to develop a communications model.

Each chapter includes “Pastoral Conversations,” real-life dialogues presented for analysis; “Key Concepts” for quick student review; “Meanings Mania,” self-tests on vocabulary; and “Unleashing the Power of Interpersonal Communication,” student exercises that reinforce the practical aspects of key principles.

While many pastors have a great love for the people they minister to, they have difficulty demonstrating that love because they lack the skills to develop and maintain relationships. A Pastor’s Guide to Interpersonal Communication: The Other Six Days explores how communication works and how to make it work for you, applying the best available interpersonal communications techniques to your relationships with the real people of the church—your parishioners.

A Pastor’s Guide to Interpersonal Communication: The Other Six Days examines:

  1. How self-disclosure works and when it’s appropriate for a pastor
  2. Stumbling blocks and building blocks for effective listening
  3. The differences between power, assertiveness, and dominance and when to use each
  4. Conflict management styles and negotiation strategies
  5. Several myths about forgiveness
  6. Dual relationships and how to avoid them
  7. Pitfalls to avoid in pastoral family communication

A Pastor’s Guide to Interpersonal Communication: The Other Six Days is an essential resource for Bible college students and for students at the pre-ministerial and seminary levels. It’s also a valuable professional tool for clergy practitioners who need help with their communication skills.

About the Author

Blake J. Neff is Visiting Professor of Communication at Indiana Wesleyan University and Pastor of the Van Buren United Methodist Church. He is the author of A Pastor’s Guide To Interpersonal Communication (Haworth, 2006) and coauthor with Donald Ratcliff of The Complete Handbook of Religious Education Volunteers (Religious Education, 1993). He and Ratcliff also edited Handbook of Family Religious Education (Religious Education, 1995). In addition to preaching, Dr. Neff has taught public speaking for twenty years at a variety of Christian colleges and universities. He and his wife, Nancy, have three adult children. The couple currently resides in Van Buren, Indiana.


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Sunday
Oct162011

Saccone, Relational Intelligence

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Steve Saccone, Relational Intelligence: How Leaders Can Expand Their Influence Through a New Way of Being Smart. Jossey-Bass / Leadership Network, 2009.

Referenced in:

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

The fact that this resource was produced by Leadership Network attests to its quality. It also comes highly recommended by Erwin Raphael McManus the leader and “social architect” of the Mosaic faith community in Los Angeles. The author, Steven Saccone, has a personal website that includes a number of related resources such as a study guide and online assessment profile.

It is not so much a book on skills-building, but on explaining the importance of relational intelligence (RI) as a leadership currency in the “human economy,” and as the title suggests, how it helps church leaders “expand their influence.” Saccone calls RI a new kind of intelligence, just like intellectual intelligence or emotional intelligence. He says:

“It never ceases to amaze me how a meaningful relationship can open a person’s heart to new spiritual realities never thought possible.”

“Relational Intelligence strives to guide leaders in reprioritizing their emphasis on the quality in their relationships, and in doing so expand their ability to influence others more effectively.” (5)

“In the past, authority and credibility were built on status, power, or position, but in today’s world it’s built on power and trust. To be relationally intelligent, we must shift from a positional authority mind-set to the crucial mind-set of relational authority.” (10)

Saccone discusses six roles/skills of leaders who have RI.

1. The Story Collector – The skill of becoming genuinely interested in the story that other people’s lives are telling, and engaging that story with anticipation. Story collectors know how to discover the most distinct dimensions of another human being through drawing out what is most interesting about them in a smart and meaningful way.

2. The Energy Carrier – The ability to set the tone or “outer energy” of a room or relational context, beginning with managing one’s own internal world and thus be undistracted and fully present in the moment. This allows them to shape and form the relational ethos of the lives of others around them in a positive, meaningful, and intentional way.

3. The Compelling Relator – The capacity to get people interested in a subject, goal, or project. Many of us have an extraordinarily important mission to accomplish, but our failure to become more interesting people, or more “compelling relators,” robs us of our greatest impact.

4. The Conversational Futurist – The ability to use conversation to create change. A good conversationalist can understand the dynamics happening in the present moment, but a brilliant conversationalist sees where a conversation is going and knows how to lead someone into the future they see with intention and speed.

5. The Likeable Hero – The skill of establishing authentic connections that make people feel valued. If likeability is seen in its proportionate value, it will enhance the quality and speed of how your mission gets accomplished.

6. The Disproportionate Investor – The choice to invest time and resources in a few carefully chosen relationships. Relationally intelligent people minimize potentially wasted investments in people and maximize their potentially greatest investments without devaluing anyone in the process. They live by the conviction that it’s better to invest in a few who will reinvest in others than to invest in many who may never reinvest in anyone.

This is excellent book functions as a strong apologetic for relational intelligence, and alongside the discussion guide and other tools available online, is an excellent developmental tool.

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

From the Publisher

Relational Intelligence (RI) reminds us that the way we choose to relate to one another determines the quality of our human experience and reveals what we value most. If we took a panoramic view of humanity, we’d discover that human relationships unfortunately are often reduced to a commodity, as if people were buying, selling, and trading relationships for personal benefit. This book challenges leaders to no longer see people as a means to an end but to approach people with relational intelligence.

In this book, thought leader, relational intelligence practitioner, and professor Steve Saccone defines the six roles of a relational genius and why they’re essential for the relationally intelligent leader. These life-changing principles can be applied both to church leadership and any other leadership context.

While many leaders want to be relationally intelligent, they struggle to understand what it means and how to implement it. Saccone defines RI in a clear and provocative way: “Relational” in RI means learning to see people as the highest value and conveying that to them. The “Intelligent” part of RI means learning effective interpersonal skills and then applying them in ways that expand influence.

Many leaders long to be influential and missional but, mistakenly, this pursuit is often at the cost of valuing people. When leaders get the relational part right (loving well), and combine it with the intelligence part (applying effective interpersonal skills), their impact will be far-reaching, and even immeasurable.

As a result of becoming relationally intelligent, the world will become not only a smarter place, but a more human one. This is the world Jesus envisions, where love and mission intersect—a world that can only become a reality if we begin to live—and lead with—this new way of being smart.

About the Author

Steve Saccone serves as a catalyst at Mosaic, a community of faith in Los Angeles. His roles include campus pastor and director of Protégé (a two-year global leadership development program). In addition, Steve works as a faith field advisor for The Gallup Organization, speaker, consultant for Monvee, and professor for Golden Gate Seminary. He has an M.A. in Transformational Leadership and lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Cheri, and son, Hudson.


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Sunday
Oct162011

Sellon and Smith, Practicing Right Relationship

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Mary K. Sellon and Daniel P. Smith, Practicing Right Relationship: Skills for Deepening Purpose, Finding Fulfillment, and Increasing Effectiveness in Your Congregation. Alban Institute, 2004.

Referenced in:

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This book is designed primarily to help church leaders develop relational competence, and secondarily to help one’s congregation “build and maintain loving relationships that provide the medium for God’s transformative work.” (xiv) This reflects the authors’ research and experience that revealed the importance of relationships to pastoral success. It is an excellent tool for looking at relationships as an expression of one’s spiritual formation and practice. The authors strike a good balance between reflection and practical exercises. They utilize some of the more recent theories such as Daniel Goleman’s emotional intelligence, John Gottman’s discoveries on successful relationships, etc. It can be used individually or in groups. Each chapter builds on the other, so it needs to be read and exercised in its entirety.

Most of these chapters build on Daniel Goleman’s four basic skill areas for developing good relationships: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relational management.

Chapter 1 addresses self-awareness, defined as “being present in the moment to what we are feeling and what’s important to us.” (14) It involves four foundations: know where you are, know how you feel, know what you value, and know what you dream.

Chapter 2 focuses on self-management, defined as “making choices regarding our perspectives, feelings, and actions that support our values, our dreams, and our understanding of God’s dream for the world.” (30)

Chapter 3 looks at social awareness, learning how to love our neighbors. We do this by setting aside assumptions, becoming curious, and listening and learning. The authors stress developing awareness of the people around us, especially in getting to know someone in deeper than normal ways

Chapter 4 puts together the preceding skills and offers six essential questions and choices to helps us love another person:

  1. What do I want my relationship with this person to be like?
  2. What attitudes and values do I want to honor as I am with this person?
  3. What must I let go of in order to turn towards this person?
  4. What is the goodness in this person that I will see and trust?
  5. How will I acknowledge to the person the holy goodness that I see in her or him?
  6. What will I dare to ask of this person?

Chapter 5 takes us into forming and living right relationships as “open channels through which God can work.” (85) They offer three structural components of right relationship: finding alignment around our task, developing covenant agreements about how we will live and work together, and opening ourselves to God’s spirit. (86)

Chapter 6 responds to challenging, real-life situations as people apply the principles and skills found in the book.

From the Publisher

Why is it that some pastors flourish wherever they go, while others with superior theological and practical training continually fail? Why do some insignificant events end up touching people in significant ways? Why do people leave churches with vibrant and exciting programs while others remain loyal to churches that seem to have very little to offer? What makes the difference?

In a book that is both profound and practical, Mary Sellon and Daniel Smith make the case that the health of churches and synagogues depends on congregations learning how to live out love in “right relationships.”

The authors found that the effectiveness of a congregation, as well as the participants’ sense of fulfillment and commitment, varied according to the quality of their relationships with each other.

“Pastors who possessed strong relational skills and worked at establishing healthy relationships thrived almost anywhere they went,” write Sellon and Smith. “Pastors less adept at relationships continually struggled even though they engaged in the same best practices as their colleagues.”

The quality of relationships seemed to be the key. Leadership is not a matter of using certain skills and implementing particular practices, nor is it about being right. Leadership is a relationship.

Sellon and Smith bring together the wisdom they gained in their work with dozens of pastors and congregations with the findings of prominent researchers on emotional intelligence and relationship dynamics to show the practices that are central to building relational leadership.

About the Authors

Mary K. Sellon is a Methodist minister and former pastor who has worked with leader development. She is also a certified professional co-active coach who assists clergy and congregational teams find effectiveness and fulfillment in their work.

Daniel P. Smith is a Methodist minister who has served as a pastor, district superintendent, and judicatory executive. He is also a certified professional co-active coach who works with clergy and congregational teams.


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