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12 Key Reasons for Staff Conflict

12 Key Reasons for Staff Conflict

My email inbox is full of these stories.

Messages to me via social media hit this topic too frequently.

There is a lot of church staff conflict out there.

To be clear, conflict exists in all relationships. And when I use the phrase “church staff,” I am referring to all who serve in vocational ministry at a local church, including the pastor.

Root causes

Conflict is certainly not unique with church staff. But among the several reasons for staff conflict, there are some that seem to be more pervasive with these relationships than others. Here are 12 of them.

1. Many church staff persons are woefully trained in leadership and relational skills. Pastors often have superb theological training but they have never led people nor have they been trained to do so. Other church staff have similar backgrounds.

2. Often the church staff involved did not have a role in selecting their team. The pastor inherits a staff; the staff have no say in the selection of the pastor. A search committee did not ask the pastor for any input for the selection of the worship pastor. These are some examples where church staff members feel that a team member has been forced upon them.

3. The chemistry among the staff is bad. It can happen in all relationships. Church staff members are not exempt.

4. The priorities among the staff are not aligned. I am seeing this reality more frequently. Failure to align is a guarantee for failure to move forward.

5. There is jealousy and insecurity. I recently heard from a worship pastor who decided to leave the church because the new pastor was so insecure and jealous of the relationships the worship pastor had developed over several years before the pastor arrived.

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thomrainer@churchleaders.com'
Thom S. Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources (LifeWay.com). Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and six grandchildren. He was founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism, and Church Growth at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His many books include Surprising Insights from the Unchurched, The Unexpected Journey, and Breakout Churches.