A non-profit service organization was experiencing conflict within its leadership team, consisting of its executive staff and directors. Disagreements over the vision and mission of the organization, and the strategies to accomplish the vision resulted in team members competing with one another rather than collaborating, questioning each other’s motives, and failing to trust their leaders or peers. As these differences became more apparent, gossip within the office and complaining to others created increased offense and separation between individuals who needed to work together to be effective.
The leadership group, consisting of 10 individuals, met for an application workshop where they reviewed the principles which would guide them in resolving their disagreements, discussing the application of the principles to case studies as they sought to understand and apply them. This workshop was followed by several key one-to-one mediations facilitated by the conciliator, followed by a group mediation involving all ten of the leadership team. Individuals shared their issues with one another, allowing the entire group to understand the various issues, as well as to understand and own their individual contributions to the breakdown of the team and the resulting conflicts. As a group, they were able to confess and apologize to one another, grant each other forgiveness, and work to put in place a plan of restoring their team work. The following is the president’s assessment of the result of this process:
I am happy to report that the peacemaking work at Advent has been continuing, and is making a real difference in this ministry. The directors group have identified 5 or 6 major topics that we feel need to be addressed in order to continue to build unity among us now and into the future. Our first topic was the question of how to deal with the tension between “business” and “ministry”. We saw that we were divided into two camps regarding this question and that we needed to find points of agreement and to discuss our disagreements. The discussions have been great– to the point that I think we are ready to move on to our next topic. This discussion was filled with listening, confession, respect, and friendship. What a difference! There are still major topics to address, including what the role of peacemaking will be in our agency.
Mark Miller, CEO, Advent Group Ministries
The church’s elders were fractured, with some supporting the senior pastor, and others believing he was taking the church in the wrong direction, away from its historic roots. As these divisions became more evident, there was an increased level of disagreement and division within the leadership group. This division began to spill over to other groups within the church, such as the deacons and ministry leaders, resulting in factions being developed. They were headed for a split.
The Group/Organizational Mediation work began with the conciliators teaching the basic guidelines for resolving conflict applying biblical principles to the leadership and congregation at large. This was followed by the conciliators meeting with individual leaders to conduct coaching interviews to learn of their specific views on the issues and underlying facts. After preparation in the form of the coaching interviews and preparation assignments, the leaders gathered for a group mediation facilitated by the conciliators. 17 leaders met, over three successive afternoons, to share specific issues with one another, and to discuss their disagreements in the context of biblical principles. The result was learning what the desires and motivators were in their individual hearts which were influencing their responses to one another, as well as understanding and sharing complete and effective confessions for the contributions they had individually made to the conflict. These sharing opportunities led to forgiveness that models God’s forgiveness, allowing them to begin to plan and live out a course of action to help the entire congregation work through and resolve disagreements that were threatening the unity of the church.
To hear how churches and organizations can benefit from this process visit the Conflict and Reconciliation in the Church Video
Some of the benefits being enjoyed by the church as a result of the reconciliation and resulting healing that took place are that we are experiencing a model of peacemaking to apply to future situations; helping to understand the importance of teaching about peacemaking and establishing a culture of peace in the church; helping to stop a historical cycle of major conflict and division in our church occurring every 3-4 years that produced chaos, splits, and disruption of function – this was killing the church.
David Ross, Elder, Quail Springs Church of Christ
Business and Organizations
We also serve businesses, helping them explore their conflict resolution approach address challenges they are experiencing, and guide them in equipping their staff.
Many times in the workplace there is conflict. Often times the employees are told to “deal with it” but the truth is that they are unaware how to deal with the conflict effectively. The training and conciliation services of Crossroads Resolutions Group and Peacemaker Ministries’ resources have been a key element in equipping our employees with these life skills.
Lead Chaplain for Hobby Lobby