Each Baptist church is a unique entity and has its own character. Being autonomous, there is a great diversity amongst Baptist churches from form of government, to membership requirements, to the details of the bylaws. Tom Butler and I are very blessed to be in a church where the deacons serve the congregation and Pastor, there are no cliques, and very few conflicts. We had a rocky past from about forty years ago, and learned to disagree in a Christ like manner. One of the biggest challanges for any Pastor is leading the local church that the Lord has called him to serve in. Since I have never been in that position, I can only imagine the complexity and stress of some situations that develop in some congregations. We have one large Baptist church in the local area that cannot get a pastor to take the job because of a past history of politics and power grabs by various groups. The salary is in the six figures. It seems that conflict in a church centers around members being self centered. It can take the form of deacons who think they are elders, cliques of members at the top of the social ladder, members who think they are entitled to an office or job for life, or any other mindset that does not edify the church. My question to pastors, or other leaders, is how have you handled bringing all of the different factions together to make the church function in a Christ like manner? How do you advise the offending parties about being servents instead of power grabbers? Has it ever gotten so bad that you went to another church? Any stories or remarks are appreciated. I very much admire anyone called by the Lord who can work through the maze of conflict. Sometimes it can be quite complex and confusing. God grant you the patience, goodness, insight, love, and people skills to get through these situations.