Willimon: Preaching Gives Meaning to All Other Pastoral Responsibilities, Including Conflict Management
Continuing my gleaning of good stuff from “Preaching About Conflict in the Local Church” by William Willimon:
Because the pastor who responds to conflict is also the preacher, the pastor’s response to crisis will always be in dialogue with the gospel. The pastor is not called simply to do good things for the church, but to do Christian things for the church. The preaching task helps us to keep necessary theological focus and content within our management of conflict. Preaching keeps reminding us that “success” in the church dealing with crisis is not measured by criteria such as what works, what is permissible, the greatest good for the greatest number, he who has the most power gets most attention, or another secular criteria. Our response to conflict is, like our preaching, part of the church’s attempt to listen to the story of God and to embody that story in our lives.
A preacher is always a pastor, one called to edify the body of Christ in this time and place. Our contention that the sermon is an appropriate place for the pastor to deal with congregational conflict arises out of our confidence that preaching and worship leadership are the central pastoral tasks and give meaning and direction to all other pastoral responsibilities (p. 43-44)