Well, let me restate that title. You probably don’t need a covenant to create conflict in your small church leadership; I bet there’s plenty of that already. What would it look like if all the leaders in your ministry signed something like the covenant below?
I have been working with a church in the NE through my work with http://ymarchitects.com and this was produced during one of my onsite visits. It wasn’t brainstormed by just a few; input was given by every church leader. Together, they decided that each person who accepts leadership also signs and agrees to live by this covenant. The church published this with Scripture references along side each of the 4 key points. Its made a real difference in what they say and how they live among each other.
1) Be Constructive
- Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?
- Stay focused on the matter at hand.
- Would you say it in front of the person(s)?
- Willingly confess your mistakes.
- Defensiveness isn’t helpful: avoid “Yes, but…”
2) Be Empowered
- All are encouraged to intervene.
- Guard each other’s dignity.
- Remember the mission: we’re here to serve Jesus.
- Nip it in the bud. Don’t let conflict fester.
- Address people directly according to Matthew 18.
3) Be Attentive
- Make eye contact. Put your phone down.
- Focus and listen. Don’t form your answer while the other person is talking.
- Let people finish; don’t interrupt.
- Think before you speak. Say what you mean.
- Be empathetic. Try to understand the other person’s position. Restate what the other person has said to test your understanding.
- Use “I” (or “we”) statements. Avoid sentences that begin with “You…”
4) Be Loving
- Blaming, bullying, finger-pointing, name-calling and personal attacks have no place here.
- Agree to disagree. Opinions differ.
- Remember that every conflict is different, and individuals respond differently to conflict.