Thabiti on Preventing Church Splits

Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile (a keynote speaker at this year’s Peacemaker Conference) has been re-posting a classic (and excellent!) series of articles on preventing church splits. It’s a five part series:  Part 1Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5 are all available. 

To give you a sense of where he’s going, here’s how he began the series:

I have a new and growing conviction. It’s occupying a lot of my thoughts these days… good thoughts, I think. I don’t know why it hasn’t always been a conviction, at least not quite in this way. But, nonetheless, I am convinced that one of my fundamental objectives as a pastor is to prevent church splits from happening.

I don’t mean that it’s my responsibility to make sure no one leaves, or to settle every dispute in a way that preserves unity at all costs. No, there’ll be times when a “split” will humanly speaking be inevitable, and I trust that the Lord has good purposes in causing or allowing them to happen.

What I mean is this: I have some basic responsibilities as a pastor. I must teach and preach God’s Word; I must pray; I must be an example; and, I must carry on a visitation ministry. That’s basically what I think a pastor is to do (admittedly a bit oversimplified). But I am increasingly convinced that I am to do those things with a particular perspective. I’m to do those things with an eye toward the developing and continuing unity of the church. Said negatively, I’m to work in such a way as to prevent the splintering of Christ’s local body in my charge.

What keeps church leaders from becoming better peacemakers?

This is my latest contribution to

Many church leaders are not naturally good peacemakers. Because of our fallen nature, we tend to respond to conflict either as people-pleasers or controllers.

People-pleasing leaders prefer to deny, minimize, or cover up conflict. They tend to pacify people by telling them what they want to hear, and often try to counsel others through a sermon rather than talking face to face. While these tactics may postpone confrontation for a while, unresolved issues usually build up over time. They can result in a steady exodus from the church and, eventually, devastating division.

Controlling leaders prefer to attack conflict (and people) head on. They tend to be quick to speak and slow to listen. They are often adept at behind-the-scenes political maneuvering. Instead of seeking understanding and gracious compromise, they frequently divide the church into polarized factions. Controlling leaders may suppress opposition for years, but many of them are suddenly swept away by a conflict they can no longer control.

Read the rest here.

Free Webinar with Ken Sande on Radical Forgiveness

Join us for a free live Webinar on June 23
Space is limited, so reserve your Webinar seat now.
Ken Sande, President of Peacemaker Ministries and 2010 Peacemaker Conference Keynote Speaker, will be exploring the examples and principles of forgiveness that are inspired by the gospel of Christ. See how the forgiveness that Christ displayed can bring about radical forgiveness in your own life and the lives of others. Ken Sande is also the author of The Peacemaker and a host of other resources on biblical peacemaking.  
Title:   Ken Sande on Radical Forgiveness
Date:   Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Time:   (2pm-3pm Pacific 3pm-4pm Mountain, 4pm-5pm Central, & 5pm-6pm Eastern)
This webinar provides a great chance to get a taste of the 2010 Peacemaker Conference. Come learn about forgiveness and join this teaching time. Check out all the information about the 2010 Peacemaker Conference at

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.


Video: Because I’ve Been Forgiven – Craig (Part 2)

A couple weeks ago, we ran Part 1 of a video testimony from Craig, who told of his difficult relationship with his father and how God worked in the midst of it.

Part 2 of this powerful story is now available:

NOTE: If you’d like to dig further into the topic of forgiveness, please consider attending the 2010 Peacemaker Conference, Sept 16-19 in Washington DC.

Webinar with Chris Brauns

Did you miss the webinar on forgiveness with Chris Brauns last week?  Good news!  We now have video of the entire webinar available online.

Here’s what one pastor had to say about the webinar:

This “Forgiveness Quiz” Webinar was a great experience, my first webinar and I felt that it was very well done and concise.  Though I cannot attend the conference it was a great taste of how good I am sure it will be.  I am looking forward to getting a copy of the questions and am glad for the format which allowed both the answering of questions in a non-threatening way and interaction with a moderator…Awesome!  I hope you are able to do more like this, let us know so we can spread the word.

— Thank you very much!

Chris Brauns Webinar: Forgiveness Quiz from Peacemaker Ministries on Vimeo.

Chris, thank you so much for sharing your time with us, and we are all looking forward to hearing more from you at the Peacemaker Conference!

The next webinar will be on Tuesday, June 15 and will feature Ken Sande. Watch the blog for more details!

(By the way, the “copy of the questions” referred to above can be found at Chris’ blog as his Forgiveness Quiz.)