How to Address Conflict in Ministry
Chris Wesley shares four tips on how to engage conflict.
TAKE CARE OF IT IMMEDIATELY
The tendency is to hide from conflict, but all that does is create gaps in communication. If the relationship isn’t solid then suspicion will fill in.
To take care of conflict immediately means:
- Acknowledging that there is a problem.
- Communicating with all who are involved.
- Creating a plan to address the situation.
REMOVE EMOTIONAL TRIGGERS
When emotions take over, it’s easy for rationale to go out the door. While you want to be authentic in your feelings, you need to make sure they don’t consume the conversation.
Change the focus from you and put it on resolving the issue. Think about what’s best for the relationship. Slow down the process, listen to the whole story and ask God for guidance and wisdom.
In conflict you need accountability and an outside perspective. An outside party will be able to hear things that you might miss. They’ll be able to explain the situation in a new light.
Partnering up is also important when meeting with someone of the opposite sex. It removes any misinterpretation and can diffuse any discomfort on the other person’s part.
ONCE RESOLVED, LET IT GO
Keep short accounts. Don’t keep a tally of how many times a certain person places in conflict in your life. Try to move on after a resolution is found. In the end you’ll be happier.
You might find that someone is a reoccurring problem. Again, in those situations it’s important to have accountability. Bring any conflict you have to your pastor or supervisor, so that they can help you create safeguards.
Conflict is not fun, but it is necessary. It’s going to help you stop, slow down and think about what you are doing. Instead of ignoring it, address it and move through it. In the end it will make you stronger.
What other tips would you offer when it comes to facing conflict?
Chris graduated from Xavier University in 2003 with a BA in Communications: Electronic Media. He moved to Baltimore in the fall of 2003 where he served as a Jesuit Volunteer for a year. During that time, he was a Case Manager at Chase Brexton, met my wife Kate and felt God's calling to Student Ministry. In the summer of 2004, heI was hired by the Roman Catholic Parish Church of the Nativity in Timonium, Maryland as a Middle School Youth Minister. Today he oversees grades 5-12 as the Director of Student Ministry. More from Chris Wesley or visit Chris at http://www.christopherwesley.org