In school, Pastor Plodder was seldom at the head of the class. In fact, he often regarded himself as one of the dummies. In all probability his teachers regarded him similarly. In life, especially in the churches he served, he fared as well or better than his straight-A colleagues.
In his work Moving Your Church Through Conflict (Alban Institute, 1998), Speed Leas identifies five levels of church conflict:
- Problems to solve. At this level parties have differences but are amicably searching for solutions.
- Disagreement. Here the disagreements intensify, and a new concern enters — myself.
- Contest. The win/lose spirit develops. Sides begin to develop.
- Fight/flight. Parties switch from wanting to win to wanting to hurt and/or get rid of the others.
- Intractable situations. Conflict is out of the control of participants. It is conflict run amok.