Here are some pages of free resources to strengthen the ministry of Christian leaders.


Articles and Booklets

Explore the whole idea of conflict transformation with this collection of pdf and web-based articles.

Find out more >

Helpful Books

See our full range of recommended titles in this briefy-annotated bibliography.

Find out more >

Useful Websites

Visit other organisations in the fields of peace-making and leadership development.

Find out more >


This bibliography lists titles recommended by Bridge Builders. It is categorised into subject areas covered in different ways by our training courses.

© Bridge Builders Ministries, PO Box 3612, Barnet, EN5 9RZ, England. Revised September 2011.
May not be reproduced without permission in writing.

OOP indicates that the title is out of print.

How to Make Meetings Work by Michael Doyle and David Straus, Jove Books, 1976. (OOP)
A ground-breaking book on making meetings work: highly practical. Worth securing second hand.

The Skilled Facilitator, by Roger Schwarz, Jossey-Bass, 2002 (revised edition)
Although a little laboured, this is one of the best books written on facilitation, and useful for those working with groups.

The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few, by James Surowiecki, Abacus, 2005.
The subtitle summarises the message. A helpful exploration about drawing on the wisdom from a group.

Meetings that Work, by Catherine Widdicombe, Lutterworth Press, 2000. (OOP)
A British book offering helpful and thorough insights into making meetings work.

Making Peace with Conflict: Practical Skills for Conflict Transformation edited by Carolyn Schrock-Shenk and Lawrence Ressler, Herald Press, 1999.
An excellent primer on conflict in different settings including the church, written mainly by Mennonite mediators and practitioners, and aimed at a church readership.

Mediation and Facilitation Training Manual (4th edition) edited by Carolyn Schrock-Shenk, Mennonite Conciliation Service, 2000. (OOP)
This is much more than a training manual, incorporating many articles from the outstanding MCS journal, Conciliation Quarterly. It has become something of a “bible” for those involved in mediation and facilitation work.

Conflict Transformation and Restorative Justice Manual (5th edition), edited by Michelle Armster & Lorraine Amstutz, MCC Office for Justice and Peacebuilding, 2008.
The new (much more expensive) edition of the above, now incorporating chapters on peacework and restorative justice.

How to Learn Through Conflict: A Handbook for Leaders in Local Churches by Colin Patterson, Grove Books, 2003.
A great introduction for church leaders and members.

Journeying through Conflict: Handling Tensions in Church Relationships by Vivienne Lassetter and Ernie Whalley, Baptist Union, 2004.
A simple but useful introduction from two leading British Baptists.

The Journey Toward Reconciliation by John Paul Lederach, Herald Press, 1999.
A highly readable and inspiring book by a leading mediator and trainer, incorporating stories from his experience, and some of his reflections on conflict in the church.

The Little Book of Conflict Transformation by John Paul Lederach, Good Books, 2003.
A short introduction to conflict transformation from one of those who helped coin the term.

Let’s Talk: Communication Skills and Conflict Transformation by Barry Bartel, Faith and Life Press, 1999.
A good workbook for use in groups, with plenty of practical exercises and great cartoons!

Moving Your Church Through Conflict by Speed Leas, Alban Institute, 1985. (OOP)
Leas comes from a management consultant background, and is probably the best known church consultant on conflict in the USA. Although dated, this booklet is still worth reading if you can get hold of it.

Transforming Conflict in Your Church: A Practical Guide edited by Marlin Thomas, Herald Press, 2002.
An introduction to transforming the church’s approach to and experience of conflict.

Managing Church Conflict by Hugh Halverstadt, Westminster/JKP, 1991.
Halverstadt uses a complex diagrammatic model, but he integrates from different disciplines. While some of his approaches and conclusions may be questionable, he is worth reading.

Conflict: Understanding, Managing and Growing Through Conflict by Joyce Huggett, Eagle, 1998. (OOP)
A readable introduction to inter-personal conflict, by a popular British author.

At Cross Purposes: Handling Conflict in the Church by Martin Eggleton and David Trafford, Foundery Press, 2000. (OOP)
A short introductory book by two British ministers, which includes a useful style profile.

Helping People Forgive by David Augsburger, Westminster, 1996.
A challenging and profound exploration of forgiveness – Augsburger’s third book on the subject.

The New Freedom of Forgiveness, by David Augsburger, Moody, 2000.
Now in its third edition, a helpful and accessible book on forgiveness.

Recovering the Sacred Center: Church Renewal from the Inside Out by Howard Friend, Judson Press, 1998.
A profound exploration of handling change, growth and renewal in the church. Essential reading for those facilitating change in churches.

Transforming Conflict: Conflict Transformation Amongst Church Leaders With Different Theological Stances, by Eolene Boyd-MacMillan and Sara Savage, FCL, 2008.
A report on a research project with senior leaders of different theological persuasions.

Generation to Generation: Family Process in Church and Synagogue by Edwin Friedman, Guildford Press, 1985
This remains the seminal book applying family systems theory to the church. Not a light read, but worth the effort.

A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix by Edwin Friedman, Seabury Books, 2007
Published posthumously, this brilliant book brings Friedman’s challenges to todays’ leaders.

Extraordinary Relationships: A New Way of Thinking about Human Interaction by Roberta Gilbert, Chronimed, 1992
A good introduction to family systems theory. The book encourages readers to look at the patterns of interaction in our families of origin, to improve our relationships.

How Your Church Family Works: Understanding Congregations as Emotional Systems by Peter Steinke, Alban Institute, 1993
A useful introduction to family systems theory (or Bowen Theory) as applied to the church: helpful in understanding the emotional dynamics within a congregation.

Healthy Congregations: A Systems Approach by Peter Steinke, Alban Institute, 1996
Steinke’s second book, applying family systems theory to the congregation, which focuses on the critical that role leaders play within the church.

Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times: Being Calm and Courageous No Matter What by Peter Steinke, Alban Institute, 2006
Steinke’s most recent book, focussing on the leader’s presence, the leader’s functioning and the leader’s challenges.

The Leader’s Journey: Accepting the Call to Personal and Congregational Transformation by Jim Herrington, Robert Creech & Trisha Taylor, Jossey-Bass, 2003
An excellent application of family systems theory for those in pastoral ministry, including some helpful grounding in the gospels and Biblical ideas.
Never Call Them Jerks: Healthy Responses to Difficult Behaviour by Arthur Paul Boers, Alban Institute, 2000
An outstanding and readable book from a Mennonite pastor that invites church leaders to a mature approach in dealing with people labelled “difficult” or worse!

Creating a Healthier Church: Family Systems Theory, Leadership and Congregational Life by Ronald Richardson, Fortress Press, 1996
A helpful introduction to family systems theory for church leaders.

Becoming a Healthier Pastor: Family Systems Theory and the Pastor’s Own Family by Ronald Richardson, Fortress Press, 2005
An important application of family systems theory to the church leader’s own family.

Multiple Staff Ministries, by Kenneth Mitchell, Westminster Press, 1988. (OOP)
Useful for understanding intra-staff conflict in churches applying insights drawn from family systems theory. Highlights the importance of uncovering roles, rules and rituals.

The Equipping Pastor: A Systems Approach to Congregational Leadership by Paul Stevens and Phil Collins, Alban Institute, 1993
A practical application of a systemic approach to church leadership.

The Hidden Lives of Congregations: Discerning Church Dynamics by Israel Galindo, Alban
Institute, 2004
A recent application of family systems theory in helping to understand church dynamics.

Creative Church Leadership ed. by John Adair and John Nelson, Canterbury Press, 2004
An interesting selection of articles, with the best by women authors. Somewhat Anglican in focus.

A Theology of Church Leadership in Focus on Leadership: Papers, Commentary and Reflection on a Seminar Launching the Foundation for Church Leadership by Steven Croft, Foundation for Church Leadership, 2005
A helpful and concise theological exposition drawing widely on current leadership writing.

Leadership Without Easy Answers by Ronald Heifetz, Belknap Press, 1994
Not a book on church leadership, but one that church leaders have found helpful.

How to Become a Creative Church Leader: A Modem Handbook ed. by John Nelson, Canterbury Press, 2008
Contains some very helpful chapters, although a bit of a mixed bag overall.

In The Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership by Henri Nouwen, Darton, Longman and Todd, 1989
A short but outstanding and classic book on leadership.

Leading the Congregation: Caring for Yourself While Serving the People by Norman Shawchuck and Roger Heuser, Abingdon Press, 1993
A mature and wide-ranging look at congregational life and leadership.

Future Leader by Viv Thomas, Paternoster Press, 1999
A short, readable and helpful British book on leadership.

Relational Leadership: A Biblical Model for Leadership Service by Walter Wright, Paternoster Press, 2000.
A comprehensive book that draws from the best of current leadership writing.

Church Disputes Mediation, by James Behrens, Gracewing, 2003
A review, by a British barrister, of mediation in a church context, based on his doctoral research.

The Promise of Mediation: The Transformative Approach to Conflict, by Robert Baruch Bush and Joseph Folger, Jossey-Bass, 2004 (2nd ed.)
Explores the transformative potential of mediation and critiques the field: well worth reading.

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, by Roger Fisher, William Ury and Bruce Patton, Penguin, 1991 (2nd ed.)
The best-selling book on win-win negotiation using interest-based collaboration.

When Talk Works: Profiles of Mediators, ed. Deborah Kolb, Jossey-Bass, 1994.
Interview-based profiles illustrating the wide range of mediation practice.

The Mediation Process: Practical Strategies for Resolving Conflict, by Christopher Moore, Jossey-Bass, 1996 (2nd ed.)
Presents an in-depth, step-by-step account of how the mediation process works.

Mediation in Context, edited by Marian Liebmann, Jessica Kingsley, 2000
A helpful review of mediation in the UK – although no mention of mediation in the church.

Conflict Mediation Across Cultures: Pathways and Patterns, by David Augsburger, Westminster/JKP, 1992
An inspiring look at cross-cultural dimensions of conflict, packed with great stories.

Helping Resolve Conflict, by I. M. Friedmann, Herald Press, 1990. (OOP)
A short but very engaging introduction to cross-cultural conflict with important lessons for all.

Working with Conflict: Skills and Strategies for Action, ed. by Simon Fisher et al, Zed Books / Responding to Conflict, 2000
A rich resource book for people working in areas affected by violent conflict.

Foreign to Familiar: A Guide to Understanding Hot- and Cold-Climate Cultures, by Sarah Lanier, McDougal Publishing, 2000
Short, helpful and accessible.

Short articles and booklets

‘Peacemaking: The Virtue of the Church,’ chapter 4 of Christian Existence Today, pps 89-97, by Stanley Hauerwas (Baker Books, 1988)

Explaining Church Discipline, 64 pps, by Stuart Murray (Sovereign World, 1995) (OOP)
Available from

‘Discipleship and Imitation of Jesus / The Suffering Servant: The Mimesis of New Creation’ by Willard M Swartley, in Violence Renounced: René Girard, Biblical Studies, and Peacemaking, ed. Willard M. Swartley (Pandora Press U.S., 2000)

‘Binding and Loosing’, in The Royal Priesthood: Essays Ecclesiological and Ecumenical, pps 323-358, by John Howard Yoder (Eerdmans, 1994)


Nonviolent Story: Narrative Conflict Resolution in the Gospel of Mark, by Robert R Beck (Orbis Books, 1996) (OOP)
An original look at Mark’s Gospel as a non-violent story.

The Peaceable Kingdom: A Primer in Christian Ethics, by Stanley Hauerwas (Notre Dame, 1983)
A ground-breaking book on ethics arguing for non-violent discipleship.

The Moral Vision of the New Testament: Community, Cross, New Creation; A Contemporary Introduction to New Testament Ethics, by Richard B Hays (HarperCollins, 1996)
A brilliant theological work, offering a profound insight into reading the New Testament, and applying this to contemporary ethical challenges.

Scripture and Discernment: Decision Making in the Church, by Luke T Johnson (Abingdon,
An outstanding theological book on decision-making, looking particularly at Acts.

Embodying Forgiveness: A Theological Analysis, by L Gregory Jones (Eerdmans, 1995)
The leading theological work on forgiveness in recent years.

A Culture of Peace: God’s Vision for the Church, by Alan Kreider, Eleanor Kreider and Paulus Widjaja (Good Books, 2005)
An inspiring book on the church as a culture of peace – a must-read!

Social Holiness: A Way of Living for God’s Nation, by Alan Kreider (Wipf and Stock, 2008)
A thoroughly readable look at Jesus and the call to a non-violent discipleship

Just Peacemaking: Transforming Initiatives for Justice and Peace by Glen H Stassen, (Westminster/John Knox Press, 1992)
A Biblical look at the call to peacemaking and seeking justice.

Covenant of Peace: The Missing Peace in New Testament Theology and Ethics, Willard M Swartley (Eerdmans, 2006)
A definitive work on the theology of peace in the New Testament.

The Love of Enemy and Nonretaliation in the New Testament, ed. Willard M Swartley(Westminster/John Knox Press,1992) (OOP)
A collection of biblical essays on enemy love and non-violence.

Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness and Reconciliation, by Miroslav Volf (Abingdon, 1996)
Challenging insights into reconciliation from a leading theologian.

Engaging the Powers: Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination, by Walter Wink(Augsburg Fortress, 1992)
The best of Wink’s series of books on “the powers”.

Body Politics: Five Practices of the Christian Community Before the Watching World, by John Howard Yoder (Herald Press, 2001)
A short but outstanding theological exploration that covers conflict and decision-making.

The Politics of Jesus: Vicit Agnus Noster, by John Howard Yoder (Eerdmans, 2nd ed, 1994)
A second edition of Yoder’s ground breaking book on the non-violent politics of Jesus.

The War of the Lamb: The Ethics of Nonviolence and Peacemaking, by John Howard Yoder (Brazon Press, 2009)
A collection of essays published posthumously, including some provocative writing on practical peacemaking.