Frequently Asked Questions:
- What is Christian conciliation?
- Is it confidential?
- What assurances can we have that assistance will be successful?
- How long does the process take?
- How much does it cost?
- What are the major differences between mediation and arbitration?
- Does my case need to go to arbitration?
- What forms do I need to fill out?
What is Christian conciliation?
Christian conciliation is a process for reconciling people and resolving disputes out of court in a biblical manner. The process is conciliatory rather than adversarial in nature—that is, it encourages honest communication and reasonable cooperation rather than unnecessary contention and advocacy.
Christian conciliation may involve three steps:
- One or both parties may receive individual counseling/coaching on how to resolve a dispute personally and privately using biblical principles.
- If private efforts are unsuccessful, the parties may submit their dispute for mediation, a process in which one or more mediators meets with them to promote constructive dialogue and encourage a voluntary settlement of their differences.
- If mediation is unsuccessful, the parties may proceed to arbitration, which means that one or more arbitrators will hear their case and render a legally binding decision.
Is it confidential?
Yes. The parties and the conciliators must agree at the outset that, with few exceptions, the conciliators will not be asked to divulge information outside of the conciliation process or the ecclesiastical structure of the parties’ churches. In particular, they may not be subpoenaed to testify in subsequent legal proceedings (see Rules 16 and 17 of the Rules of Procedure). The parties are required to commit to not divulging information to people who do not have a necessary and legitimate interest in the conflict.
What assurances can we have that assistance will be successful?
Only God can change people. However, when Christians respond to biblical teaching and make earnest efforts to avoid both escape and attack responses to conflict, we can expect the conflict to be resolved and healthy relationships to be established (or reestablished). In every case that Crossroads Resolution Group has undertaken, people have grown in their spiritual maturity and have gone on to build personal relationships that reflect their faith and trust in Christ.
How long does the process take?
For individuals and families, the time to resolution varies greatly depending on the complexity of the issue, and on the time and amount of resources that each party has available. Rest assured that CRG will work efficiently but comprehensively – we will assist you until all parties are clear on what must be done for resolution.
Read more at Services for Individuals and Families
For organizations – including businesses, nonprofits, churches, and denominations – resolution may take time, just as the conflict has grown over time. However, a team can be in place within 4 to 6 weeks following the formal acceptance of a Proposal for Conflict Assistance.
The assistance process is comprised of four phases:
- Assessment, which begins with your contact to us, our assessment of your situation, and the presentation and acceptance of a proposal. This comprehensive document can be presented to church boards, committees, or the entire congregation for review and approval.
- Pre-onsite phase, which includes preparation and scheduling assistance.
- On-site phase, with visits ranging from 2 to 10 days. Depending on the number of days, this may be accomplished in one or two visits. Two-visit projects usually include a three- to six-week interval between visits.
- Post-site phase, which is the final wrap-up of our work together, and usually takes at least 30 days. We also provide long-term follow-up and assistance.
Read more at:
- Services for Businesses and Nonprofits
- Services for Churches, Denominations, Associations, and Ministries
- Pastoral Intensives
How much does it cost?
All cases are unique. The total cost of services will vary depending on the complexity of the issues, resources needed, and other variables. You can find the Pricing Guidelines here.
What are the major differences between mediation and arbitration?
During mediation, the parties retain control over the final outcome, and the mediators act only as facilitators. When a case goes to arbitration, the parties are legally obligated to abide by the arbitrators’ decision.
Another difference is that arbitration deals primarily with substantive issues; that is, it establishes facts and determines rights and responsibilities. In contrast, mediation deals both with substantive issues and with personal and relational issues. To put it another way, while arbitration determines what people must do as a matter of law, mediation helps them to see what they should do as a matter of conscience. (After an arbitration decision has been issued, the arbitrators may address behavior and attitudes they observed in the parties during the conciliation process.)
What kinds of issues can be submitted to arbitration?
Arbitration may be used to resolve a broad range of issues. However, arbitration may not be used to resolve legal issues over which:
- Civil courts will not relinquish jurisdiction (e.g., child custody, support, and visitation)
- Issues that are solely within the jurisdiction of the family (e.g., how to teach or discipline children)
- Issues that are solely within the jurisdiction of the church (e.g., determining doctrine, calling or dismissing a pastor, or exercising church discipline)
Does my case need to go to arbitration?
No. If attempts at a private resolution have been unsuccessful, and if the other party agrees to work with a conciliator, the process will typically follow this path:
- The process starts with mediation, a relatively informal and voluntary process. As it says in Scripture, Christians are encouraged to address conflicts with one another and to seek reconciliation and resolution.
- If the parties do not reach an agreement on their own, they may ask the mediators to issue an advisory opinion, which is not legally binding but is often accepted by both sides.
- If mediation is unsuccessful, then arbitration is an option.
Arbitrators act as judges, and their decisions are legally binding. Going directly to arbitration without attempting mediation is usually not advisable, unless there are no personal issues to be resolved and there is no need for reconciliation between the parties.
The mediation/arbitration option, which requires both parties to stay in the process until the matter is resolved, usually affords the greatest opportunity for reconciliation and resolution. Therefore, conciliators usually recommend this option.
What forms do I need to fill out?
Online forms can be found here.