Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Book Review: Antagonists in the Church

Subtitle: How to Identify and Deal with Destructive Conflict. Written by: Kenneth C. Haugk (you may know the name from Stephen Ministries). This book was written in 1988 but I just discovered it a few weeks ago. I found it to be very practical and filled with suggestions that should be helpful to pastors and church leaders.

Who are antagonists? "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."

Haugk gives personality characteristics and warning signs for identifying antagonists in the church. He also devotes about 35 pages to presenting ways to prevent antagonism in the church.

The last 70 pages of the book are focused on dealing with antagonism. I found the chapter discussing how to meet and confront an antagonist one on one to be affirming.

Bottom line: Once you have clearly identified an antagonist in the church you relate to him/her in an entirely different manner than how you would normally relate to other people. An antagonist must be confronted from a position of power and strength.

The book is an easy read but filled with good ideas that pastors and church leaders need to know before an antagonist rises up to cause conflict in the body of Christ.

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