Rawlings School of Divinity


Master of Arts in Religion (MAR)


Gus Suarez


Church Conflict, Finance, Intergenerational, Conflict Resolution


Counseling | Religion


The decline in church membership and attendance of the 22 churches and 18 ministries of the Atlanta-Rome District (ARD) of the Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church has dramatically impacted the ministries and effectiveness of the Atlanta-Rome District churches in conducting what Jesus Christ commanded in the Great Commission. The congregations whose membership once boasted governmental officials and civil rights icons have all but dwindled to a faithful few that continue to support the Spiritual and fiduciary obligations of the local churches. The rise of non-denominational churches with a more contemporary style of worship as well as internal conflicts within the local CME church congregations presents an abounding effort to uphold 147 years of Christian Methodist history. The decline of membership within the local churches of the ARD not only affects missions and ministries, but it also presents a direct reflection of the disallowance of intergenerational and cultural changes, effective re-direction, and leadership’s struggle to communicate the vision and establish a paradigm for the local church. Moreover, decisions within the local church are made by a select few, and any challenge to those decisions often results in congregational division. The conflicts within the local church prevent growth in discipleship, which results not only a loss in church membership and attendance but also a reduction in financial resources. However, this project will compare existing methods and models to determine an effective model to resolve conflict in the local church and reduce the number of members leaving the local church. Using church member surveys, the research for this project will be conducted on ten churches in the Atlanta area that are similar in size and the number in membership. The outcome of this project will present suggestive recommendations to resolve church conflict and increase membership.