Conflict Management




Rev. Ben Bagley

I am currently the Sr. Pastor of St, Luke’s UMC in Kilgore Texas. I have served throughout East Texas over the last thirteen years and have led churches of varying different sizes.  I have enjoyed ministry in two-point charges as a local pastor, been the associate at a larger church, and led ministry in my own solo appointment.  I have been married for thirteen years and have four children.  During my time in ministry, I have completed a Bachelors in Business Management from Stephen F. Austin State University, a Masters of Divinity from Perkins School of Theology, and another Masters in Business with a focus on Human Resource Relations from Louisiana State University Shreveport.  

I believe that both my education and experience in churches have given me the ability to bring a great deal of expertise to many areas.  Over the past several years as a part of the APL program, I have focused extensively on self-awareness and how to lead well given my strengths. A huge tool in this learning and growth has been through the enneagram.  This tool allows each person to come to a deeper understanding of how God is working in their life as well as ways to better use the gifts God has given them. I have attended multiple seminars as well as led several workshops both on individual growth and parenting well using the enneagram.

Financial Oversight, Change Management, Conflict Management, and Staff Management are all areas that not only have I worked in extensively in ministry, but also have received ongoing education in.  I believe that while churches are very different than many businesses, many business practices can teach us a great deal of how to lead in these different areas.  I have also learned that many of these areas are interconnected.  Many times, a conversation in financial oversight is also an exercise in conflict management.  Because of my education and experience with different churches, I believe I can help churches navigate these conversations well and come to a solution.  

When I came to St. Luke’s UMC, we had a traditional governance structure. Through VCI and several different conversations, we decided to invest our energy in the Single Board Model.  We navigated through the change and created bylaws which helped us to create a very effective new Single Board Structure.  This shift in governance models has helped us be nimbler and more responsive as a church especially during the time of the covid pandemic.              

Rev. Dr. Jim Bankston 

I have been a pastor for over 50 years in the TAC. I have served churches in rural, small towns, suburban and urban areas. I have also been a district superintendent. I have been a part of ministry and growth in almost every kind of setting and circumstance.

If I can walk with you in some aspect of your pastoral or prophetic ministry, I am available to listen to you and help you and your congregation find a way forward toward a faithful witness and a hopeful future in these times.




Rev. Dr. Jonathan Bynum

With degrees in engineering and business, Dr. Jonathan Bynum became a third-generation pastor with a unique perspective that has served him well in leading churches of all sizes and in all settings and in all corners of the Conference. As an avid learner and reader, he continues to become better equipped for these challenging times in both our church and our culture. Jonathan and his wife, Lea, enjoy the time they get to spend with their four children and two grandchildren.

Most clergy and congregations would rather be nice than deal head-on with conflict. The consequence of conflict avoidance is a conflict crash. Jonathan has been asked to mediate issues in other congregations, helping them talk through the issues to work toward solutions that bring reconciliation rather than division.

 Rev. Marlin Fenn

Marlin has served as pastor in Deport, Baytown, Trinidad/Cedar Creek Lake, Galveston, Hallsville, La Porte, Bryan, and Katy. He served the Northwest District as Superintendent from 2015 until retirement in 2021 and as Interim DS of the South District for three months in 2021. He lives in Katy, TX and has an ugly garden and good-looking grandkids. His interest is in the spiritual health of congregations and pastors. His training and experience include Mediation and Conflict Transformation, Decision Analysis, and Executive Coaching.

Marlin can guide a process for pastors and congregations seeking to move beyond conflicts or crises. He can guide churches that have a real desire to engage the community in ways that can encourage church growth. He can coach pastors needing someone with whom to process difficult events or decisions. 

Rev. Bonnie Osteen

Rev. Bonnie Osteen, an ordained Elder of the Texas Annual Conference, began serving as the Coordinator of Transitional Interim Ministry for the Texas Annual Conference in July 2015.

Rev. Osteen is a national trainer for ‘Transitional Intentional Interim Ministry Specialists Training’ with the United Methodist Church. She has also served several churches as an Interim pastor. This calling is one which she approaches with passion. “God uses me in a particular way at each of these churches and I am thankful for the time on the journey with each congregation.”

In 2014, Rev. Osteen received the national recognition of Approval status from General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) as an Intentional Interim Minister. She currently serves on the national Board of Directors -Transitional/Intentional Interim Ministry Specialists Association (TIIMSA) and serves as the registrar for the National Gathering of TIIMSA

Rev. Osteen received her Master of Divinity from SMU - Perkins School of Theology in 2003. She received her teaching certification and Bachelor of Science, Education from Stephen F. Austin University in 1990.

In conflict management, pastors and churches will determine the most appropriate way of approaching a particular issue (or issues) and the ‘next steps.’  Situations, warrant ways of handling conflict – all conflict is not the same. Methods are determined as to what will be most effective in working through the conflict.


Rev. Dr. Tommy Williams

Rev. Dr. Tommy Williams is Senior Pastor of Trinity UMC in Beaumont Texas. Tommy has served growing congregations in rural, county seat, multi-cultural, and large urban contexts throughout the Texas Annual Conference for over 25 years. His experience includes leading an 11-million-dollar capital campaign, growing children ministries, outreach with refugees and at-risk youth, sports ministries, health ministry, and supporting the creation of non-profits birthed out of the congregation. Tommy’s doctoral work centered on the intersection of faith and public life exploring how a church becomes active in the welfare of the communities where they are serving. The Williams family have enjoyed being foster parents and other community involvement wherever they serve. In their off time they enjoy time at their family land in the woods of East Texas.

Conflict is a normal part of human relationship. The question is always how to show up and maintain spiritual practices and disciplines in the middle of them. It involves knowing yourself, loving the people, and understanding the heart of the conflict at hand all undergirded by prayer.