Conflict.

It’s true.  It happens to everyone.  And it shouldn’t be the dirty word of the church.  We should not pretend that everything is great and that we do not have conflict because that is simply not true.  We need to talk about it because every church experiences it.

Every relationship goes through conflict.  Sometimes conflict can even make relationships stronger.  Think about all the relationships that there are in the church.

Yep, that is a lot of opportunity for conflict.  One very important thing that we need to realize is that conflict is a reality for every congregation, no matter how loving or caring they are.  It’s just going to happen, there will be conflict, we cannot prevent it.  We might as well accept it and learn how to deal with it.  Since every relationship is going to have conflict, the way conflict is dealt with can be a way for the church to prove that it is different.  And to show the love of Christ.

Here are some ways that churches should handle conflict (between members, between leadership, between other church, etc.).

1-Take a deep breath and pray
A good way to pray away conflict is by taking a deep breath and praying the fruits of the spirit.  “God, help me to be loving, to find joy in the situation, and to seek peace. Give me patience.  Help me to be kind, good, and faithful.  And most important give me self-control.  Help me to be long to listen and slow to speak.”  That is just one idea.  But prayer is a must.  Any way to get you focused on God and to set your heart right.

2-Try to figure out your own part in the conflict
Ask yourself, what you did wrong, how you reacted badly, what was your role in this conflict.  You need to get the log out of your eye before you can try to address the speck in your neighbors eye.  So, analyze yourself first and be ready to admit where you went wrong.

3-Address and resolve the conflict face-to-face (with that person!)
This step is super important.  Don’t complain on Facebook or other social media about the problem (it just makes it worse).  Don’t tell everyone else about the problem, unless you are prayerfully seeking council.  Don’t look for people to back you up.  Talk to the person involved face to face so that nothing gets lost in translation.  Also, address the problem one on one.  Do not take anyone with you.  The person could feel gained up on and will most likely not be willing to talk to you.

4-Be willing to forgive
Always take a heart of forgiveness with you into any of these discussions.  Focus on loving the person and restoring the relationship, not attacking them for what they did wrong.  Love first.

5-If face to face, one on one does not work, find a mediator
If you have tried to talk to the person one on one, face to face, and they do not care, or you cannot resolve the conflict between the two of you, ask them if you can bring in someone you both trust to help you resolve things.  Don’t just bring in your closest ally and not tell the other person, because again they will feel ganged up on.  Find someone you both trust and you both think will help you resolve the conflict.

Do you run into conflict in your church often?

Do you have any other helpful tips?

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