At Unity Matters All Unity Matters
"An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Intervention." Peter Steinke, Healthy Congregations
In assessing conflict within a church there are three effective and viable techniques to choose from in order to achieve conflict resolution and transformation.
One form of addressing church conflict is INTERVENTION. Intervention is probably the most common type of dispute resolution used within church settings today. An assessment of the cause/s of conflict is first determined then presented back to the church along with a plan to correct and alleviate the conflict which has infiltrated their church family. A crucial part of intervention is monitoring the progress of the church.
MEDIATION is another form of addressing church conflict. The mediation process I have developed over the last decade is extremely effective. Respectful conversations are encouraged, strategies to solve conflictual issues in a non-threatening manner are established, while focusing all efforts toward a "Win-Win" resolution.
The third form of conflict resolution and transformation is a seminar entitled "UNITY IN THE CHURCH" which Rev. Harrell has developed while working on her doctorate at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Church Leadership with a focus on Conflict Resolution and Transformation. In this two-hour, six-session seminar both clergy and lay church leaders are taught important skills pertaining to how to lead congregations, especially during times of conflict; conduct more productive meetings in shorter amounts of time; become more united within their church or synagogue.
"UNITY IN THE CHURCH" is critical for churches with a history of conflict as well as churches or synagogues whose conflict has damaged the relationship of the congregation. This seminar can also be taught to any congregation wanting to strengthen leadership skills within the church; become more united; and (as a preventative measure) become more proactive in their ability to handle any conflict in whatever way it may present itself.
"In cooperation with ecumenical agencies and other appropriate boards and agencies, the board shall encourage and promote ministries and models of mediation and conflict resolution, both ecumenically and within the agencies and institutions of the United Methodist Church."
(The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church, 2008, Section IV.)