Thereâ€™s nothing more challenging interpersonally than dealing with a serious conflict with someone on your church staff, or a volunteer in a key position in your ministry. The temptation would be to let time heal it, or hope that the tension would simply go away on its ownâ€”but fight those feelings because conflict in the church, especially on a team, has to be dealt with well in order for genuine progress to be made.
Canâ€™t we all just get along? Actually, no, and thatâ€™s probably a good thing because it forces us to tackle conflict in a God-honoring manner. Here are some steps to move toward resolution when you find yourself in conflict with someone on staff.
Be the bigger person.â€¨
Someone is going to have to lead with humilityâ€”might as well be you. How would this relationship change if you decided to take action and humble yourself (right or wrong in the matter that caused the division, either way), and begin a conversation to rebuild trust and love? Until someone does this, any progress will just be an outward act covering up a pain-filled heart. Unresolved conflict eats away at your job satisfaction, your vision, and your heart. Donâ€™t let it happen!
Take a small step forward.â€¨
A simple note, gesture, or gift can go a long way. Could you find an excuse to give them a small token of your love for themâ€”even if itâ€™s never acknowledged or reciprocated? Continually take small steps forwardâ€”mixed with time this is a powerful way to break down walls.
Talk them up to other people.â€¨
People can usually sniff out when someone is in tension with another personâ€”in fact, most churches specialize in spreading that information around gleefully, it seems. When you talk positively about the person in conflict, you are disarming the potential for a greater divide in the church, and not forcing people to take sides. Plus, it is surprising (and wonâ€™t take long) for word to get back to that person, too!
Pray for healing.â€¨
Too often the â€œrightâ€ answer is to pray for the situationâ€”in this case, itâ€™s no different. You have to ask God to mend what is broken and heal what areas are infected. Conflict between people who work together every day can, and has, claimed many churchesâ€”donâ€™t let yours be one of them!
Re-read yesterdayâ€™s article.
And by the way, a whole bunch of what we wrote yesterday concerning dealing with a disappointed parents can also apply to resolving conflict on your ministry team. Hereâ€™s an example:
Kurt: â€œJosh, I can understand why you FEEL threatened by my physical stature.â€
Kurt: â€œIn fact, Josh, other people on our team have FELT the same way.â€
Kurt: â€œHereâ€™s what Iâ€™ve FOUND: As long as you donâ€™t tick me offâ€¦you have nothing to be afraid of.â€
Who do you need to take a small step forward with today?
This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter.Â Subscribe to SYM Today right here.