I hate conflict. I am terrible at it. I get uncomfortable and I feel a pit in my stomach. Yet, doing ministry means dealing with conflict.
I am not sure anything makes it easier but asking these questions helps me with the process:
What’s the point of the conflict? Is the point correction or discipline? Or is it conflict over approach to ministry? The point determines my approach. The point determines if I need support from my boss or from a parent. The point determines my passion or compassion. Do I need to confront a student about bad choices…for the first time or for the 100th time? Do I need to confront a leader…for the first time or for the 100th time? The point determines the approach.
What do I hope will happen at the end? Do I know what we want in the end? I think to handle conflict well you need to have an end objective in mind. When confronting behavioral issues is there a path way to forgiveness. When confronting differences of opinions…is there a willingness to meet in a middle ground, is it “my way or the highway” or is there a third option. My hopes can determine the resolution.
When I can answer both of those questions I usually feel better about walking into a conflict conversation. I know why I am having the talk and where I want it to go…without both of those it can easily get messy and confusing. Even still, I don’t like conflict. It stinks.
How do you handle conflict? Help me!