Ministry pressure can come from many different places and makes itself visible in many forms. In times of stress, people can respond in ways that don’t glorify God or edify the body of Christ. This often leads to conflict and unproductive ministry.
A redemptive approach to conflict can model biblical principles and restore unity with the team. Train your ministry leaders in these five principles for effective conflict resolution.
- Be proactive. Recognize that when staff and other leaders possess diverse perspectives, strengths, and personality types, the possibility for conflict exists.
- Listen first. The willingness to listen will often determine the outcome of any given situation. Not all listening is equal, however. An attitude of “I would never have done that” shows you to be judgmental and quick to condemn. A better approach is one of humility and grace, as a fellow Christian who has been rescued by Christ.
- Use the Bible as a guide. When addressing the issue of sin with someone else, we are not appealing to our own judgments’ or moral standards, but only to that which God has clearly defined in his Word.
- Recognize the condition of the person’s heart and greatest need. It’s easy to point to social vices and external habits that repulse us. While we cannot easily see the heart of another, we can attempt to know someone and their struggle before discerning the situation. Through conversation, we should seek to discover any unmet expectation and talk about them.
- Provide a concrete plan for restoration. Meeting with someone face to face is the first step. An appropriate second step is for church leaders to spend time in prayer. Then a simple, direct restoration plan should be proposed that provides clear action steps and consequences to promote healing and resolution.
[Editor’s Note: Excerpted from Group’s Practical Stuff for Pastors: Dealing With Conflict.]