“Hope permeates each chapter …”

Thanks for your patience re: our delayed postings as Dave and I are currently a little too busy actually serving churches to blog about it …

To tide you over, our gratitude goes out to Christianity Today’s Leadership Journal for this endorsement:

The Facts: Barthel and Edling tackle a subject most would prefer to ignore yet all have to face. Drawing from their experience with Peacemaker Ministries, the authors face the reality of conflict within churches head-on, including the devastating effects unresolved conflicts have on congregants and mission. But this is ultimately a book about redemption. Hope permeates each chapter. Multiple case studies provide nice balance to the theology and advice.

The Slant: Does anyone actually want to think about conflict? We pastors are especially prone to avoid this subject, unless it’s staring us in the face. But lest this book sound like the word equivalent of broccoli (you’ll eat it, but won’t like it), be assured that it’s more like a hearty dinner with family. Yes, there are some hard realities to face, such as our own complicity in conflicts, but there’s much to enjoy as well. The book is theologically rich, seasoned with wisdom that comes from years in the trenches of church conflict. The hope here is powerful: even our conflicts become opportunities for the gospel’s redemptive work.”

And I (Tara) would also like to bring to your attention a wonderful book by one of my favorite contemporary churchmen, Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile, that I received in the mail this week and just couldn’t put down until I had read every word. It is a beautiful, accessible, theologically-rich treatment of how our life together in the church is both “rooted in God the Son and grows up into the full resemblance of the Son because our union with Jesus is both the root and fruit of spiritual fellowship”:

The Life of God in the Soul of the Church: The Root and Fruit of Spiritual Fellowship

I truly believe that Redeeming Church Conflicts would be needed much less if we all lived out the truths that Pastor Anyabwile exegetes in this book.


About Tara Barthel

Tara Klena Barthel formerly served as the Director of the Institute for Christian Conciliation. As such, she oversaw hundreds of conciliation cases (including conflicted church interventions) through the international network of trained conciliators. Tara also provided oversight and leadership for all advanced conciliator training. Currently, she serves her family as a homemaker while occasionally accepting cases as a mediator, arbitrator, and conflicted church intervention team member. Currently enrolled at Reformed Theological Seminary and pursuing her Master's Degree in Religion, Tara consults with businesses and ministries on the legal risk management issues attendant to conflict; designs and presents custom training on biblical conflict resolution for churches, missions agencies, and parachurch organizations; speaks frequently at women’s conferences and retreats; and is currently working on many new writing projects. Tara is the author of the Living the Gospel in Relationships video series and co-author of Peacemaking Women—Biblical Hope for Resolving Conflict (Baker Books, 2005), and Redeeming Church Conflicts--Turning Crisis into Compassion and Care (Baker Books, 2012; second imprint Hendrickson Publishers 2016). Prior to moving to Billings, Montana to join the staff of Peacemaker Ministries, Tara worked as an attorney and business consultant in Chicago. Tara earned her law degree and M.B.A. from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and her B.A. in psychology from Augustana College (Illinois).
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