According to one survey, as many as one third of all congregations have suffered conflicts severe enough to result in the firing or forced resignation of one or more of their pastors. Ron Susek, who has firsthand experience of the lasting effects of church controversy and has ministered to churches in turmoil, offers a detailed portrait of how events can often spiral out of control--not unlike the flames of a wildfire. Firestorm describes the six successive phases through which conflicts generally pass. In each phase, Susek identifies the tensions that tend to develop, explains how they are compounded if left unresolved, and offers practical, spiritual guidance for pastors and congregational leaders. The book also explains the spiritual, social, and psychological causes of conflict; the most appropriate means for dealing with controversy in its various stages; and what can be done in the firestorm's aftermath to restore faith and hope. A detailed plan of action is included.
From the Introduction: If you think that God fell into good fortune the day you committed your wonderful leadership skills to his work and that the two of you are building a masterpiece of a church that will stand until the Lord returns, then don't bother reading this book. Enjoy your illusion while it lasts. If, on the other hand, you have been in the ministry long enough to know that your church could blow into a firestorm of conflict despite your best efforts and that it demands a constant vigil to keep the temperature set at spiritually warm, not destructively hot, then this book may be of some assistance.