These reflections are a work in progress.  Your feedback will be helpful as we develop a finished product. I have made some general assumptions about dealing with difficult people within a congregational setting.


  1. Conflict is natural within a healthy, vibrant and progressive church
  2. People who are consistently difficult and constantly letting others know how difficult they can be are people who are in pain about something.
  3. No matter how difficult a person is to deal with as a pastor we must extend to them the same care, compassion and grace that we would to every other member.

 I would like to suggest that the way to do this is to begin with introspection.


‘Introspection is thus a very important part of  the process of finding our self identity. Looking for place that God has worked or is working within us is a part of introspection. We mull over our won histories and find in them the times and places where by God’s grace our true selves have been enabled to make decisions: in our choice of career; in our handling of children; in our relationships with friends. In this case the practice of introspection becomes the singing of a kind of love song of gratitude and joy to God for God’s good gifts.”  Introspection can be excruciating.”

Roberta C Bondi

To Pray and to Love: Conversations on Prayer With the Early Church

Page 90


Question for Reflection

  1. How do we produce depth in our introspective time?
  2. How do we probe the places in our own lives where there is pain without dwelling there?
  3. The inward search takes time. How do we search inward with such a busy schedule?

 The next process is sharing outward because of the inward journey.

  1. Unlimited Intercession
  2. Unconditional Love
  3. Unconditional Grace
  4. Radical Gratitude