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Managing Polarities in Congregations: Eight Keys for Thriving Faith Communities [Paperback]

Roy M. Oswald , Barry Johnson

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Creates a foundation for powerful communication 10 Sep 2010
By Ann V. Deaton - Published on
If more leaders knew how to recognize and manage polarities, we would have much more vibrant faith communities. Johnson and Oswald have written a tremendously useful book. Their discussion of polarity management will help not only congregations, but any organization which finds itself in disagreement. Out of passion for the work and mission of the organization, and sometimes just because we all have our own ways of seeing things, polarities will always exist. In understanding polarities more completely (which the reader will begin to do within the first chapter), a clear path forward opens in the midst of conflict. This is an awesome, readable book. It will change the conversations and what's possible in many congregations!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The 1st Question Leaders Should Ask in Decision Making 8 April 2011
By Richard Burkey Lifelong Learner - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Is this a problem to solve or a tension to manage? Understanding how to use that question in making decisions is the great value I learned from Managing Polarities in Congregations and why I highly recommend it to leaders in faith communities.

Do you breathe in or out? Hopefully both. That makes breathing a tension to manage, and learning to do that well leverages your breathing capacity for greater growth and endurance.

Oswald and Johnson apply the concept of Polarity Maps to 8 keys for thriving faith communities. For some faith communities, it is a choice between strong pastoral leadership or strong lay leadership. For many faith communities,it's an either/or battle. Oswald and Johnson show how it's best as both/and, then they show how to leverage that polarity for growth.

Other polarities to manage include: Tradition AND Innovation, Spiritual Health AND Institutional Health, Management AND Leadership, Inreach AND Outreach, Nurture AND Transformation, Making Disciples: Easy Process AND Challenging Process, Call AND Duty.

The list could go on. As I read the book I thought of other polarities / tension areas to leverage for growth -- Church AND School, Work AND Family, etc. Appendix A applies polarities to Small Groups.

Buy this book for your leadership and for those who serve with you. Build your own polarity maps. Identify the problems that need to be solved, and discover the polarities that need on-going management and leverage them for growth.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very practical 15 April 2010
By E. C. G. Pender - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a wonderful tool in thinking about congregations. The 8 polarities that are described are very well formulated and recognizable. The model that is being presented can directly be applied in the situation you are in. It is well written and good examples are used. Recommendable reading for leadership in the church
3.0 out of 5 stars the process provides an excellent tool for many congregation based conflicts 22 July 2014
By Richard Carroll - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Overall, the process provides an excellent tool for many congregation based conflicts. Those readers not sharing the denominational orientation of the authors may find a number of the illustrations and applications not applicable to their particular church experience. The lessons regarding discerning between a problem to be solved and a polarity to be managed is worth the price of the book alone. Any church leader and/or congregation that masters that skill will be light years ahead in approaching disagreements and conflicts in a creative and healthy manner.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, relevant concepts- well explained 26 Dec 2013
By Messy Miracles - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have been using polarities in coaching leaders and this provides specific application for church leadership. Co-authored by Barry Johnson, the expert in this concept which adds real depth and precision. The examples are greatly detailed and easy to follow. Am using this now with the executive leadership team of a large church and it's transforming the way they solve problems, make decisions and approach staff and volunteers.
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