“Helping entrenched people is what we do and who we are.” (Pastor Whipple of Kossuth Street Baptist Church)

rescuing drowning person

Dave and I were blessed to read an endorsement of “Redeeming Church Conflicts” by Pastor Whipple of Kossuth Street Baptist Church in Lafayette, Indiana.

I especially appreciated Pastor Whipple’s encouragement for his church members to be prepared to redeem conflict (since it doesn’t sound like their church is facing extreme conflict right now); and also his insights into how conflict is a normal part of real relationships:

“Close and committed relationships like those found in a church family are always prone to be tested by conflict, disagreements, and misunderstandings (PHIL. 4:2-3). Here’s a helpful quote from the introduction to the book:

One of the most common emotions people feel when facing serious church conflict is hopelessness. Often this is because conflict puts blinders on our eyes and tempts us to isolate ourselves into self-protective groups who agree with us. In our passion to defend our position, we develop tunnel vision that clouds our judgment as we focus our time, energy and emotions almost exclusively on temporal matters. Things of heaven, theological truths about God and his church, even a passion for bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ to the unsaved, all begin to fade from focus as positions become entrenched in daily battles and we experience despair.

This is a wise and helpful warning both for ourselves and for our understanding of those we are trying to lovingly encourage that may be experiencing some form of conflict. Helping entrenched people is what we do and who we are—after all, we are the church.”

I love his wording: “Helping entrenched people is what we do and who we are–after all, we are the church.” So wise! And sadly, so rare.

Most churches just GIVE UP on people when things get hard. People become entrenched in sin. They are hurting, wandering, drowning … and their so-called “shepherds” abandon them. It doesn’t have to be that way! We can REDEEM our conflicts for God’s glory and our good.

Please, God, help us to help entrenched people, rather than judging and rejecting them.

Thank you, Pastor Whipple.


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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