Bivocational pastors learn about conflict
Dianna L. Cagle, BR Asst. Managing Editor
July 18, 2011

Bivocational pastors learn about conflict

Bivocational pastors learn about conflict
Dianna L. Cagle, BR Asst. Managing Editor
July 18, 2011

For any minister, conflict is inevitable.

While there are many words — anger, warfare, hurt — that

come to mind when conflict is mentioned, M. Wayne Oakes encouraged ministers

recently to consider the word opportunity.

“Not everyone experiences the world the way you do,” said

Oakes, who retired from the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina several

years ago. Oakes was part of a two-day North Carolina Baptist Bivocational

Ministries Conference July 8-9 at Caraway

Conference Center

near Asheboro.

BR photo by Dianna L. Cagle

A group of bivocational ministers and spouses swap prayer requests during a meeting July 8-9 at the North Carolina Bivocational Ministries Conference. The event, held at Caraway Conference Center in Asheboro, dealt with “Conflict Resolution: Strong Anchors for Stormy Times.” View the photo gallery here.

The theme — “Conflict Resolution: Strong Anchors for Stormy

Times” — challenged participants to use even the negative experiences to build

bridges to healthy relationships.

Part of building bridges is setting goals “that stretch us,”

said Oakes.

“I just don’t think we engage people enough,” he said.

“We have a real ministry opportunity to put our arm around

somebody and offer a listening ear.

“We cannot save anybody. I think we can come alongside

people and say ‘I can tell you’re hurting.’”

Oakes said many ministers fall into the trap of trying to

rescue their church members but instead the members need to be encouraged to

confront people with their concerns.

“I’ve learned that I can’t solve anyone else’s problem,”

Oakes said.

“A lot of negative language in church life would disappear

if we didn’t fan it.”

Oakes compared conflict to a virus.

“The single purpose of a virus is to replicate itself,”

Oakes said, but was quick to stress that conflict, much like a virus, cannot

multiply in isolation.

Change is never easy.

“They will feel awkward and ill at ease,” he said.

“They will feel alone even when everybody else is going

through the same process of change. They can handle only so much change at one


Three anchors

During some of the devotional time, Phyllis Elvington, a

well-known N.C. Baptist speaker and member of Tabor

City Baptist Church,

focused on the subtitle of the event: “Strong Anchors for Stormy Times.”

She encouraged the ministers and their wives to abide in the

vine as a spiritual anchor. “Satan wants you to settle for less than God’s best,”

Elvington said.

Believers also need a mental and physical anchor.

Contact Lester Evans at [email protected] or (877)


Bivocational Resources

  • Bivocational & Small Church Leadership Network —

    bivosmallchurch.net; national coordinator: Ray Gilder, [email protected];

    (615) 371-7907; this site offers a large number of resources and links for

    helpful information for small church or bivocational ministers.

  • Bivocational Beacon — newsletter produced by North Carolina

    Bivocational Minister’s Association. Contact [email protected].

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