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Presentation to SAC 6 Conference on Conflict in Congregations

Get below the surface to resolve conflict – think icebergs yet again!!

Icebergs Diagram One of the common difficulties in conflict resolution is for work to take place at the wrong level.  Attempting to resolve conflict at the positional level is fraught with difficulties.  Two people with opposing positions will usually only confront each other and push each other further away.  I commonly ask individuals or groups to actively lay down their positions (better without even declaring up front), so that we can move the discussion to the deeper level of needs, interests, values, experiences, beliefs and assumptions.  This is a much better space for constructive conversation. Mutual understanding of each other’s rather complex, and not always consistent, cluster of needs, values and interests goes a long way to assisting healthy resolution.

Difficult Conversations – Do your homework

 Preparing for a difficult conversation

It takes years to construct a bridge but it can be brought down in minute.

Very few people enjoy engaging someone else in a difficult conversation; even fewer relish the prospect of being called into one. A primary reason is that our experiences in these situations have often been very painful. For that reason, most people tend to avoid difficult conversations at all costs. The result is that unresolved issues fester because no one is willing to deal with them. These ‘steps’ are intended to assist your thinking in knowing when and how to engage a difficult conversation and get the best possible outcome.

Arrow Leadership 11 Conference – Conflict Management in Christian Communities




I enjoy my opportunities to teach in the Arrow Leadership program.  Always good to hang out with a choice collection of Bulls, Turtles, Koalas, classic Owls and this year a lone Turtle.

I have added some material from today’s discussions to what was linked via this post this morning.  All the best as you prepare for action.

Four Stepping Stones of the Peacemaking Journey

Truth-telling – What actually occured?  How should it be understood? What needs to communicated to whom?  What should remain confidential? Justice-seeking – what is the sin, evil or injustice in this? What will make this right for the offended parties?  What does God’s justice look like here?  Grace giving –  What does God’s mercy and

An important discussion of the theology of reconciliation

THEOLOGY OF RECONCILIATION AND PEACEMAKING FOR MISSION by Robert Schreiter 2003 Lectures for the British and Irish Association of Mission Studies New College, University of Edinburgh June 23-25, 2003 PDF version of the lecture