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Antagonists In The Church: How To Identify And Deal With Destructive Conflict [Paperback]

Kenneth C Haugk
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 24 2004
Kenneth Haugk shows how congregational leaders can prevent or reduce much of the pain and suffering caused by antagonism in the church. He distinguishes between healthy conflict and destructive antagonism and shows how to cope productively with disruption.

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From the Publisher

Antagonism exists in the church. It leaves in its wake broken lives: people who are hurt, discouraged, and apathetic. Although only a very few persons are antagonists, these individuals have the potential to disrupt and even destroy a congregation’s mission and ministry.

Who are Antagonists?

“Antagonists are individuals who on the basis of nonsubstantive evidence, go out of their way to make insatiable demands, usually attacking the person or performance of others. These attacks are selfish in nature, tearing down rather than building up, and are frequently directed against those in a leadership capacity.”
-Kenneth C. Haugk

About the Author

Kenneth C. Haugk, Ph.D., pastor and clinical psychologist, is founder of the Stephen Series system of lay caring ministry. He is executive director of Stephen Ministries, a transdenominational organization based in St. Louis, Missouri. Dr Haugk is the author of the best-selling book CHRISTIAN CAREGIVING-A WAY OF LIFE, and is an active speaker and consultant on such topics as spiritual gifts, inactive member ministry, and church and business antagonism.

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ANTAGONISM is a reality. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Outdated and Harmful June 23 2002
Kenneth Haugk asserts there are antagonists in the church and outlines how to identify them. He attempts to apply psychological knowledge when he lists what he believes are the personality characteristic of antagonists. He follows a format similar to that used in psychiatric diagnosis but does not, unlike psychiatric diagnosis, present any empirical data to support his position. Furthermore, he divides antagonists into three groups: hardcore, major and moderate antagonists. He asserts that hardcore antagonists are psychotic and that major antagonists have character disorders. Later on in the book he states that antagonists are evil. So by implication he is stating that individuals suffering with serious mental illness are evil and that they are untreatable. In my own career as a psychologist I have worked extensively with the seriously mentally ill including individuals suffering from paranoia. These individuals are not evil but are part of society's outcasts, the very people Jesus sought to help and protect. They are also treatable and it is possible to include them in a church community rather than ostracize them. Kenneth Haugk also engages in circular reasoning. For instance, he writes, "Why is so-and-so antagonistic? The simple (if circular) answer is, Because he or she is an antagonist."
Kenneth Haugk's thinking is so sloppy that it would be laughable if his assertions were harmless. However, he encourages ministers to engage in pure power plays without regard to ethics. His recommendations are tantamount to scapegoating and shunning. In many ways they are similar to the very behaviors he condemns! Individuals are to be identified as antagonists without informing them and without giving them a fair chance to defend their actions.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Some evil lay-leaders rage against ministers July 13 1998
Some churches are vulnerable to one or more pathological antagonists whose background includes a dysfunctional family upbringing, abusive relationships by parents, immoral behavior of their own, or some deep-seated resentment of others including God. Haugk tells us how to identify these angry people who are hell-bent to destroy the minister's ministry, career, and possibly his marriage and family (as collateral damage). Pathological antagonists are not merely mentally ill; they are what psychiatrist M. Scott Peck calls "evil," since their behavior is so destructive. Since most parishoners are naive about such persons and their potential for injury, this book is must reading for the good and decent lay-leaders who could organize into a protective force for their ministers. To quote Cicero: "There are two kinds of injustice: the first is found in those who do an injury; the second in those who fail to protect another from injury when they can." Mi! ! nisters are especially vulnerable to attack by charming insider preacher-haters; Haugk shows us what can be done about them.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I wish I read this book 20 years ago! Sept. 9 2003
What a great book. Haugk has preformed a great service to pastors by giving them the tools to deal with their greatest bane: antagonist in the church. He does so first by defining what an antagonism is and differentiates it from ordinary conflict. Second, he give the pastor the identifying characteristics, behaviors and warning signs of an antagonist. Third, he then deals with preventive issue, and finally, he gives the pastor strategies, skills and techniques that will help him cope with antagonist.
As I read this book I could identify in my minds eye various antagonist I have dealt with in twenty years of ministry. Although there has been only a handful of these difficult people, they have been very destructive of my ministry and family. If only I had this book back then! Anyone who has dealt with these people knows exactly what the author is taking about. This book is must reading for every pastor. I only wish that I read this book twenty years ago.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Usefulness not limited to any specific faith May 11 2001
By A Customer
I'm not a member of the clergy of the Christian religion; I'm a Wiccan High Priestess and am currently engaged in writing a book for leaders in my faith. Amazon.com recommended this book to me and the descriptions of it convinced me to buy and read it.
In the first place, the author is obviously the sort of Christian that anyone serious about any faith would count him/herself lucky to know. In the second place, the groups which I must deal with as a member of the Wiccan clergy have just as much trouble with antagonists as Christianity does -- and just as much trouble dealing with them.
Because I hope to see myself as an honorable person who is loving and caring, I found both the comfort and the active advice in this book welcome and most definitly helpful. I recommend it highly to anyone playing a leadership role in any religion.
Blessed Be Grey Cat High Priestess, NorthWind Tradition of American Wicca [...] [...] greycat@icx.net
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful resource Aug. 22 2002
I came across this book five years ago when dealing with a difficult person in my church. It was invaluable then and remains so now.
I had about an hour and a half to skim *Antagonists in the Church* and extract very useful information before going into a meeting with this person and another church leader. Though I didn't do the book full justice, I did find that the writing was clear, the information laid out helpfully and accessibly, and the content very germane to the context I was facing. I was able to go into that meeting with much more confidence and a much greater sense of how to conduct my own behavior when confronted with this church member's antagonism.
I find the book helpful in helping to define antagonistic behavior and to differentiate it from other kinds of conflict behavior.
I recommend it.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Keeping your sanity
As moderator of a church in crises, this book helped me keep perspective and sanity. Unwillingness to believe that evil or intentionally hurtful people are in many, if not all... Read more
Published on May 11 2004 by Patricia
5.0 out of 5 stars Guide for Dealing with Antagonists
I've unfortunately had to put this into practice. Found it very useful, workable and comforting.
Aids in the identification, prevention and dealing with antagonists. Read more
Published on March 16 2001 by rodboomboom
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for clergy and lay leaders
Whether you are clergy or a lay person, this book is a must read. It is insightful and full of usefull suggestions for dealing with as well as explainations for the evil that one... Read more
Published on June 23 2000 by C. L. Phillips
5.0 out of 5 stars Why didn't they teach this in seminary?
Several years ago, we found this book to be an incredibly important tool in riding the waves of congregational conflict. Read more
Published on March 29 2000 by John Donnelly
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommend Reading this Book Before It Is Too Late
Extremely brilliant insight into churches which have experienced more than just the ordinary conflicts. Read more
Published on Dec 6 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommend Reading this Book Before It Is Too Late
Extremely brilliant insight into churches which have experienced more than just the ordinary conflicts. Read more
Published on Dec 6 1999
4.0 out of 5 stars A pragmatic guide to dealing with antagonist.
Kenneth Haugk presents a difficault subject in an enticing manner. He leads you through a maze of difficulty to a solution that, though not easy, is achievable. Read more
Published on Aug. 7 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Prevention and protection for "no-win" church conflicts
Those in church leadership need Haugk's insights if only to be sensitized to walking time-bombs in the church. Read more
Published on July 31 1997
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