The key to learning how to handle conflict well is having good mentors. How to work through conflict in a way that puts the relationship and growth as the priority is an art. Books and reading can only take you so far. The Apostle Paul gave instructions for people to help other people out through conflict. For the last post, here is a human-ography (bibliography) for the Conflict series. In a real sense, this series was over 10 years in the making.
Carefront: Pastor Matthew
Pastor Matthew did 2 critical things: 1) He waked me through conflict as I started out in pastoral ministry. 2) He taught me how carefronting is living out what the Bible expects of us. I gleaned the term carefront from him. Words mean things, and carefront sets the proper tone for handling conflict.
O.I.C.: Dr. Wilhite, Peterson, Dr. Austin
These gentlemen developed a process for handling conflict that works on a variety of age groups, uses the side door, and understands that conflict is part of our growth. A key often left out is the “how.” O.I.C. gave me the “how” of conflict. Many can tell you what to do, but how is important. These gentlemen gave me the how.
Q1: Pastor Jake
Years of experience and walking with God through conflict is a gold mine. That is Pastor Jake. He would often remind me that “God is the one who grants repentance.” Counseling people through conflict and issues has its own pace. Rushing conflict because we want to get it over with is dangerous. Pacing is an art involving great wisdom and relying on God. It needs prayer. Everyone needs a Pastor Jake.
Q2 & Q3: Dr. Jeffery
In a seminary chapel on handling conflict in marriage, President Jeffery gave us a chart. On each axis stood one of the questions. In the upper right corner was a dark circle called the “The region of conflict.” He took the chapel the explain the tool and how to gauge when or if we should carefront. He developed or learned of the tool in his years of pastoral ministry.
The bottom line:
Conflict is a reality of life. We cannot avoid it. To navigate these growth opportunities well you need mentors who will guide you and give you the tools and faith needed. Mentors are the difference between a light at the end of the tunnel and the light above the dentist chair. Mentors give us the hope as they equip us to be like Christ in and through conflict. They are the light God uses at the end of the tunnel because they’ve been there.’’
To my mentors, thanks!