Face Your Conflict
As leaders, we all must face conflict. In our staff, leadership teams and even in our congregations, God will bless us with people who have strong personalities. (Yes, I said bless us!) It is up to you to use your wisdom, love, authority and Holy Ghost power to shape and disciple these strong people into who God would have them to be. Take a look at this excerpt from Reinvent Yourself: 21 Keys To Your Personal Spiritual Makeover. The book is written for all Christians, but I think this section on conflict will be very helpful to leaders at the pastoral level.
Key #12 – Confront Your Conflicts
Here are some quick reinvention notes on facing your conflicts:
1. Face conflict directly.
Do not shy away from challenges, but face them with a spirit of prayer. Get in the habit of looking for the conflict before it comes—then you may be better prepared to deal with it when it arrives. Isolating the core of the challenge to effectively identify it is a good way to approach each issue. Figuring out how to approach it and how to resolve, and perhaps fix it removes its impact on your life.
2. Schedule a time to deal with it.
It is important that you do not confront a problem when you are least prepared to deal with it. The problem must be assessed and your mind must be clear and prepared to deal with both negative and positive responses. Of course there are emergency situations that you may have to handle on the spot—but for the most part, give yourself time to resolve it for the best results. Some adversity is ongoing —that is when we must learn to nurture and grow our faith, which allows us to step away from the challenge and to live above it. God gives us more faith as we grow in His Word and through our experiences.
3. Refuse to enable inappropriate behavior.
You just know that sometimes you are faced with behavior that is inappropriate and not from God. We must acknowledge it; but do not condone it. Know that we live in a fallen world; that in itself explains all the decadence and sinfulness that permeates society. We will be challenged by the inappropriate behavior of others and ourselves. Confront the challenges armed with God’s Word as your reference and your guide. It is always a good idea to consult with your spiritual leaders and counselors also! Proverbs 11:14 says “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”
4. Use the challenge as an opportunity to grow.
Recognize that each challenge is an opportunity to grow and to increase your wisdom in dealing with adversity. What can you learn from this situation? How could your faith help you overcome the problem? What could you do better if it happened again? When you take inventory of what happened you can make the most out of your growing experience.
5. Don’t dwell on the conflict or problem.
Once you have addressed the problem give it to the Lord and let Him handle it—you let it go. Do the necessary follow-up and whatnot—but do not carry around the guilt and shame of what you could have or should have done. Let go and let God! If you've done all you can, let God do the rest.
“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18