Category Archives: church conflict

A Mediation Model for Christians

Jesus was fully immersed in the identity, experiences and perspective of both God and man as mediator between the two. So for mediation to be successful, each has to identify with the experience and perspective of the other, overcome strong emotional states, and consider all options to bridge the gap. “Each of you look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil. 2:4).

Remember, neither side is without fault. “For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). God repeatedly commands his people to seek and pursue peace (Psalms 34:14; Jer. 29:7; Rom. 14:19; 1 Cor. 7:15; 2 Cor. 13:11; Col. 3:15; 1 Thes.5:13; Heb. 12:14. He also promises to bless those who do so (Psalms 37:37; Prov. 12:20; Mat. 5:9; James 3:18).

God’s sovereignty is so complete that he exercises ultimate control even over painful and unjust events (Ex. 4:10-12; Job 1:6-12; 42:11; Psalms 71:20-22; Isaiah 45:5-7; Lam. 3:37-38; Amos 3:6; 1 Peter 3:17). The biblical examples of Joseph resisting the same temptation David failed to resist resulted in suffering for both, but God used both greatly. God will remain present in our suffering and accomplish good through our trust in Him (Isaiah 43:2-3).

Resources

What Does the Bible Say About Divorce?

Divorce and Remarriage: A Redemptive Theology by Rubel Shelly

The Peacemaker by Ken Sande

Hope in the Face of Conflict by Ken C. Newberger

 

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What Does the Bible Say about Divorce?

By Dean Whitfield

I believe in the inspired inerrancy of Scripture in the original manuscripts and all that implies; which includes that (1) Scripture does not contradict itself (Luke 16:11), (2) Christ fulfilled the Law (Matt. 5:17), (3) our God is a god of logic, not confusion (I Cor. 14:33), and (4) the truths of Scripture are available to everyone without prior need of special education or intellectual capabilities (II Tim. 3:16-17; Jas. 1:5).

Any discussion concerning the divorced and the church must of necessity begin with an understanding of God’s position on divorce. Continue reading What Does the Bible Say about Divorce?

Support for Pastors at No Cost

By Dan Blair, a Christian marriage counselor and family counselor.

The burdens that pastors carry are many. Dr. Greg Smalley reports that 80 percent of pastors leave the ministry within five years of graduating seminary. He adds that 1500 pastors a month leave due to burnout or moral failure. According to a Barna Group study released in 2017, 26% of pastors have faced significant marital problems. And 48% agree their current ministry is difficult on their families. Pastors give so much to others, but the pressures are heavy enough to hamper their availability to their families, or self-care.

  1. Role conflicts. Pastors get asked to do many things above and beyond the job description.
  2. Proliferation of activities. New endeavors are started without adequate support for the programs already in place.
  3. Administrative duties. Pastors are not necessarily trained in spread sheets.
  4. Spiritual dryness. People face deserts in life, but pastors are not expected to be “people.”
  5. Perfectionism or inadequacy. Pastors can hold unrealistic standards for themselves.
  6. Unrelenting standards. Others can hold unrelenting standards for the pastor.
  7. No time to be alone, while feeling alone or lonely. Both can be true.
  8. Intrusions on time. The unexpected often occurs at inopportune times.
  9. Failure of dreams. Often visions don’t occur as planned.
  10. Blocked goals. Attempts at accomplishment are meant with resistance.

In addition, pastors most often use an intrapersonal coping style versus interpersonal coping. Balancing coping strategies means pastors need their own support system. Blair Counseling and Mediation offers wellness checks and personal support for the unique stressors that pastors face at no cost as part of our commitment to the local church. Feel free to call at anytime.

Church Conflicts

Research by the Barna Group uncovered two surprising facts: (1) the majority of the nation’s non-churched are comprised of people, not who say they are not Christians, but who say they are, and (2) about 4 out of 10 of these stopped attending due to a “painful” or “negative” ordeal. Barna projected that at the current drop-out rate attendance nationally will be half of what it is today in 15 years.

Research shows that there is a direct correlation between conflict and attendance: the more conflict a church has the fewer people remain in attendance. To address this growing problem churches need an in-house system which conveys to its members that the church is able and willing to gracefully and effectively address disputes as they emerge, for the good of all. One such program based on a Biblical model is the Judeo-Christian Model of Peacemaking developed by Dr. Ken Newberger. Its application in local congregations is detailed in his book entitled, Hope in the Face of Conflict. This practical step-by-step process looks to the pattern God used to make peace with us. It is based on love as the first foundation, justice the second, with reconciliation the goal and mediation the means.

Here’s a question: According to the Judeo-Christian Model of Peacemaking (JCMP), when parties are in conflict, who is supposed to make the first move toward reconciliation, and what does that first move consist of?

Because the Judeo-Christian Model is based on the pattern that God used to make peace with us, the first question really is this:  In God’s conflict with mankind (due to human sin), who made the first move toward reconciliation, the offended party or the offending party?  The answer is, God, the offended party, did.  More specifically, he created a mediatorial structure in both the Old and New Testaments by which peace with mankind could be established. Since the undergirding framework of the JCMP is “like Father, like Son,” if you are in conflict with another and are the offended party, you have the responsibility to make the first move toward resolution and reconciliation.

What is that move?  Contacting a mediator.  This is done with regularity in all types of organizational settings such as government, universities, and hospitals. The reason this is rare to find in churches, however, is because no in-house structure has been established which members can utilize.  Making peace falls almost wholly on their shoulders even if there are factors that contribute to the problem that have nothing to do with them.  This is why we take a “systems approach” to peacemaking.  But the benefits of such an approach cannot occur until and unless the church leaders first put such a system in place.  Even in this respect, if leaders want to be like God (“like Father, like Son”), they should ponder this question: “When did God establish his peace plan with mankind, before or after we entered into conflict with Him?”  The answer is before.  Churches should do the same by establishing a peace plan for their congregation before (the next) conflict emerges.

If you are a pastor or church leader, feel free to view a 6 minute PowerPoint overview presentation at: resolvechurchconflict.com

To learn more, please contact Dan Blair at Blair Counseling and Mediation. or Dr. Kenneth Newberger at resolvechurchconflict.com.

Mediation Practices for Families
For families devoted to a biblical process to resolve conflict but torn asunder by unresolved issues, family mediation is recommended using the 12-step process of reconciliation described in the book Hope in the Face of Conflict by Dr. Kenneth C. Newberger.