Recently, I asked a simple question on my Facebook page. I was trying to find out how various organizations and those in those in those organizations dealt with conflict. Here is the questions and the answers I received.
- Michael: “I would first make sure that I understand what the precise problem is. Perhaps allow both sides to identify the specific problem.”
- Faith: “I think that it is important to remain in the Word in handling whatever problems...and make sure to not run anyone out of the church, especially when those in conflict are following what they feel God has led them to do and their opinions are backed up by the Word. It is a sad sight to see such conflicts that end with strong Christians leaving churches. It's not a pretty sight. It's rather upsetting. How can we as Christians expect to "pull in" non-believers into the church when the church today is running believers out of the church?
- Janice: Identify the problem first. It may not be what it seems. Sometimes we see the symptoms and think that is the problem. Both parties need to be present at the same time to express their feelings in a non-threatening environment where both opinions are respected. Then with the guidance of the coach allow the two parties to solve their problem. The starting point for the discussion needs to be the mission of the church and both parties should be guided to see how they both fit into the churches mission. I feel that we don't spend time training our membership and leadership on conflict resolution.
- Tammy: Shouldn't we ask ourselves "how will this affect the kingdom"? What will benefit the Kingdom? Is our motive selfish or sacrificial? Listen with our heart. Decide to agree on essentials and agree to disagree on non-essentials. Appropriate agape love and the kingdom will benefit and God will be glorified like He was when Christ gave Himself up for us. So maybe listening and following Christ's example is key. Conflict has been tried and proven in God's word to advance the Kingdom.
- Debbie: Remaining in God's word is the most important. Some issues are grey but there are black and white issues. I guess for me I find that if you remain calm and look in His Word you will find guidance in whatever is going on. What I have a problem with is when some people are already on their (own) path and it does not matter what the issue. They will not try to come to common ground that both sides can agree on. I have found when some leave the church it is not because of a strong belief…what God wants but what they want.
- Eric: We must not let trouble fester. It must be dealt with head on according to the Bible.
- Marcos: The first step is to understand the reason for the resistance, second ask God for wisdom in prayer and follow Biblical instruction.
- Amy: Understand the reason for the resistance. Get to the heart of the conflict.
- Bart: Note: Bart said that there two important principles to practice: “Team” and “Preach.” To support this he shared this passage of scripture: 2 Timothy 2: 23-26 “But reject foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they breed quarrels. The Lord's slave must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient, instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance to know the truth. Then they may come to their senses and escape the Devil's trap, having been captured by him to do his will.”
Also, with the quotes listed above I discovered these basic questions in dealing with conflict shared in the responses. These three questions can help any organization dealing with conflict.
- What is the main reason for the conflict?
- What is the overall focus on the mission of our organization?
- Is the end result worth the conflict?