Conflict and Peacemaking as a Pastor

I have been reading from time to time the book, The Peacemaking Pastor: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Church Conflict, by Alfred Poirier.  I tend to pick it up again whenever I am confronted with conflict as a pastor.  If I had to do over again I would have taken The Peacemaking Pastor elective that Alfred Poirier taught during winter term at Westminster Seminary California while I was a student there.  If you are still a student and are reading this, take the elective or at least sit in on the class.  You won’t regret it.  I am thankful that Poirier wrote this book and that I bought it before I left seminary.  It is full of Biblical wisdom and Gospel-driven counsel for resolving conflict.  I highly recommend it for everyone who is a sinner, not just pastors (i.e. everyone).  Here is one great quote among many in the book from the chapter “Pastor As Mediator” that I thought was worth sharing:

What then do we do as servant-mediators?  What part do we play as peacemaking pastors? We play a supporting part that is in one sense very simple.  Paraphrasing Paul, we enter the room of enemies pitted against each other and announce, “We do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’s sake” (2 Cor. 4:5).  In other words, pastors mediate Christ.  Pastors bring to the table of enemies the feast of the Lamb.  Mediation, reconciliation, is getting enemies to eat of the slaughtered Lamb and drink of his blood.  Here opposing bloods that flow thick with the venom of hatred are reconciled by the stronger, deeper blood of the Lamb.  In short, pastors are waiters serving the Lamb to sworn enemies.  Pastors are busboys washing the dirty dishes of our hatreds, anger, lusts, deceits, malice, and filthy words in the purifying stream of Christ’s blood.  It is tiring work.  It is battle work.  It is Messiah work.  But we are compelled to persevere, because serving this way is at the heart of our calling as pastors, as mediators” (p. 188).

May God help us pastors to fulfill our calling as mediators of Christ even in the messy situations of life.  Christ is all-sufficient!

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