The Peacemaking Pastor

A Biblical Guide to Resolving Church Conflict

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Peacemaking: The healing alternative to conflict in the church

Every pastor faces conflict in the church, and Alfred Poirier has this loving reminder: we can run, but we can't hide. Jesus set the example as the Incarnate Peacemaker, and Scripture clearly calls his servant-pastors to be ministers of reconciliation. So the issue is not whether to be a mediator but what kind of mediator to be.

Thoroughly exploring the theology of reconciliation, Poirier adds lessons from personal experience and lists practical steps for effective mediation. With this comprehensive guide, you can embrace peacemaking confidently as a way to glorify God through the overcoming power of the gospel. And, as Jesus promised all peacemakers, you will be blessed.


"Pastors serve on the front lines of the spiritual war that engulfs this world. All too often their greatest battles take place within the church itself, where they are caught in the crossfire of personal, theological, or congregational conflicts. These endless skirmishes leave many pastors--and their families--so exhausted and wounded that they lose their joy for ministry or leave the pastorate altogether. This book provides a gospel-centered strategy for equipping pastors to be highly effective peacemakers who can lead their flocks safely through conflict while building a culture of peace in the church."--Ken Sande, president, Peacemaker Ministries

"In solidly scriptural fashion a veteran pastor here explains how the local church through its leaders can become the community of peace and safety that it is called to be rather than the hotbed of hostilities that it too often is. This is a very salutary book on a very sensitive subject."--J. I. Packer, board of governors' professor of theology, Regent College

"A culture of peace should characterize God's covenant people. The Peacemaking Pastor by Alfred Poirier is a solid overview of biblical peacemaking, which can help pastors and their churches carry forth the gospel of peace in their personal, family, church, and community lives."--Tony Evans, senior pastor, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship; president, The Urban Alternative

"Funded by an unusual combination of research and practical experience, Alfred Poirier's The Peacemaking Pastor is essential reading for everyone who cares about the peace and purity of Christ's visible church. Every pastor and elder knows the challenges to 'preserving the unity of Christ's body in the bond of peace,' but this book offers rich wisdom for this task. Read it before the storm and you will be much better prepared to handle it!"--Michael Horton, professor of systematic theology and apologetics, Westminster Seminary California

"Pastor Poirier calls himself 'a peacemaker-wannabe' but he does something in this book that can really help the church today deal with conflicts and schisms that disrupt our life together in Christ. He gives us a thoroughly biblical, theologically sound perspective on the ministry of reconciliation within the local church. Every pastor and church leader, and every student preparing for the ministry, should read this book!"--Timothy George, dean, Beeson Divinity School of Samford University; executive editor, Christianity Today

"The Bible tells us to be at peace with all, as much as it is up to us. In a world full of conflicts comes this welcome new book by Alfred Poirier, The Peacemaking Pastor: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Church Conflict. The book provides great insights on how pastors can be a significant part of the solution, and not merely on the sidelines."--D. James Kennedy, senior pastor, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church

"The Peacemaking Pastor is pastoral theology at its best. It is, first, theology, a profound biblical exploration of the gospel of God's grace in the cross of Christ and of its power to overcome the conflicts that divide us and damage our witness. This is not, first of all, a handbook of negotiation techniques and communication skills, but rather an exploration of what it means for pastors to cast themselves on the mercy and heart-changing power of God, and then to lead people in conflict to do the same. And, because The Peacemaking Pastor is theological, it is profoundly pastoral and practical, peppered with illustrations from the author's experience that show Christ's power to smash our hearts' idols, break down walls of suspicion and self-defense, and bring us together in surprising unity and love. Pastor, if you are looking for tools to make others behave better and to make conflict 'just go away,' while you yourself remain unchanged, you should steer clear of this book. But if you are prepared to be challenged to live by faith in a God whose grace can heal relationships in ways beyond our imagination, take up and read--and pray and preach and counsel."--Dennis E. Johnson, academic dean and professor of practical theology, Westminster Seminary California

"Worldwide there are more than 7,500 theological schools, seminaries, Bible colleges, etc., training women and men for ministry. Each of these institutions should have a required course for all its students on reconciliation and peacemaking. Alfred Poirier's work, The Peacemaking Pastor, would be the ideal textbook for these courses. It provides very practical insights in an area that has been neglected for too long. The Peacemaking Pastor would also be ideal for every pastors' conference and every training program for missionary, denominational, and church staff. An excellent tool for everyone involved in ministry."--Manfred W. Kohl, vice president, Overseas Council for Theological Education

"Human conflict is a given in families, marriages, churches, small groups, and the world. Peacemaking is not in the Beatitudes because Jesus is just putting in filler. Peacemaking is core to being a Christian. So what Alfred Poirier offers is not simply another task in an impossible list of tasks. He's giving to the pastor some of the very tools that will inform every other part of ministry--preaching and teaching, small group leader training, the church budget--in helping pastors to become truly the peacemakers who are blessed."--David Powlison, lecturer in practical theology, Westminster Theological Seminary; editor, Journal of Biblical Counseling

"Combining his long pastoral experience with vulnerability and biblical scholarship, Alfred Poirier identifies the idols of our sinful hearts while providing help and new hope. For those of us who love the local church and want it to reflect the glory of the God of peace, we will keep this book near our desk. We will want to use it as a training manual with our leaders."--Donald L. Bubna, coach, conciliator, and consultant

The Author

  1. Alfred Poirier

    Alfred Poirier

    Alfred Poirier (M.A., M.Div., D.Min., Westminster Theological Seminary) is chairman of the board for Peacemaker Ministries and serves it additionally as adjunct instructor and mediator. He is senior pastor of Rocky Mountain Community Church in Billings, Montana.

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