Conflict management 101
“Virtually all theorists of conflict management agree that parties to a conflict must share larger or ultimate values in common as a basis on which to resolve their differences.” (Hugh Halverstadt, Managing Church Conflict, p. 212).
Two important examples
Two areas that significantly disrupt unity are differences in giftedness effecting areas of service and differences of opinion on debatable matters.
- The apostle Paul addressed both of these in the NT book of Romans and then provided a larger or ultimate value to protect each area from becoming a source of conflict.
- The two guiding principles require a shared attitude for all believers in all Churches at all times.
- It is especially the responsibility of Church leaders (as protectors of unity) to practice and to hold people accountable to these guiding attitudes (see: Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:3; Romans 16:17-18; Jude 16).
- Romans 12:3 — Guiding attitude for serving one another
“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you” (NIV).
- Romans 14:3 — Guiding attitude for differences on debatable matters
“Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them” (NLT).
Practice the core value
Romans 15:5-7 – together with one voice…
“May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory” (NLT).
See also: Two essential movements in a Church