Promoting unity and preventing conflict in the church
Associations to host regional training events led by Blake Coffee
Building a new worship center with a solid, seamless foundation is the first step to make sure the church’s building will stand strong for years, but a church can only construct a new building as high and wide as a solid foundation will support. If a problem develops, it is always better to repair sooner rather than later or the issue will escalate into a crisis.
Conflict in the church can follow the same principles. A crack in the foundation of unity may begin small but can grow into a crisis. The result can be devastating not only for the church leaders and members but also for the mission and testimony of Christ’s church.
Associations around the state are being proactive about preserving unity and handling conflict in the church. May 8-11 associations and local churches in each region of our state will host Five Principles of Unity training events led by Blake Coffee. RSVPs to attend are needed by May 1. (Find each training’s date and location in the calendar.)
The Five Principles of Unity trainings are intended to equip and prepare pastors and church leaders with a Biblical approach to encourage unity within the church. The events will also serve as the introduction for a new conflict prevention and crisis management ministry, The Church Unified, co-sponsored by associations and the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC).
Coffee is the author of the book "Five Principles of Unity" for which the training events are named. Coffee currently serves as the Founder and Executive Director of Christian Unity Ministries and is also the author of "One Body: Experiencing Unity in the Church" and "Trusting God’s People Again."
Associations and the ABSC are partnering together to develop this ministry as a way to help churches develop a strong foundation of unity through teaching such as the Five Principles of Unity events. They have also worked together to train a group of pastors and associational missionaries who can meet with a church to resolve conflict before it explodes or help in the event of a crisis.
The partnership with associations is key to meeting the needs of churches. “Associations are the ones on the front lines when conflict arises,” said Dr. Sonny Tucker, Executive Director for the ABSC. “We are excited to partner with them as they take the first step in being proactive, and if there is a crisis these team members are trained to understand and step in to help.”
“If I were talking to a group of pastors, associational missionaries or others in leadership positions, I would say this is invaluable to their ministry and they should take advantage of the help this ministry can give them,” said Dennis Wilkins, Associational Missionary for North Pulaski Association, who has been trained in this ministry.
For a list of the upcoming training event dates and locations, see the calendar. Reservations to attend must be submitted by May 1 to Vera Clancy.