Conflict happens, even in among ministry leaders.
I think the biggest challenge I faced in first few years in ministry was the belief that I needed to prevent, diffuse and communicate to avoid all conflict or potential for conflict.
Somehow I had assumed the belief that any conflict reflected poor leadership on my behalf. I strived to lead a cohesive team and took it upon myself to solve problems and prevent future challenges.
Sounds wonderful right? It was a great plan. But then I realized it was draining myself and preventing opportunities for growth among my team members.
A defining moment in my ministry was when I shared a video curriculum with a small group that I led that stated “Jesus was a peace maker not a peace keeper.”
Wow. What does that mean??
5 Ways to be a PEACE MAKER in Ministry
1. RELIEVE YOURSELF of the responsibility of making others happy
If you work with volunteers, you will want to make sure that you reward, recognize and appreciate them. However, you do not need to guarantee their happiness. Recognize that God is at work in them just as He is in you and maybe he/she may need to experience challenges to grow. Accept, allow, and walk alongside them. But relieve yourself of the burden of creating their ideal environment. Only He knows that.
2. EQUIP & EMPOWER your team
Provide the resources and tools that they need to do what is asked of them. But refrain from doing it for them.
3. Don’t be afraid to ASK TOUGH QUESTIONS
Learn what your team members enjoy and what frustrates them. Talk them through frustrations by listening, encouraging and praying with and for them. Encourage them to be a peace maker as well. If you are seeking to achieve peace for them, you are asking them to be peace keeper and not allow them to steps to achieving it.
4. Show LOVE
There will be conflict and different points of few, especially if it’s a high stress work team. You don’t have to agree on everything in order to work together. In fact, if you all agree all the time, it’s time to expand or change up your team. Different viewpoints and spiritual strengths will lead to greater accomplishments and new ideas.
5. CONFRONT unhealthy behaviors
Many teams would have less conflict if they chose to comply with the strongest willed member. However, that does not make the team healthier. As the leader, you may have to have some uncomfortable conversations for the benefit of your team. And there may be people that aren’t the right fit for your mission and vision. Pray about it and then make the choice to confront situations that need to be addressed for the long term sake and vision of your ministry.