Peacemaking in the Church and Beyond - Lesson 6

Discussion of Conflict Cultures

In this lesson, you will learn about how pastors and church leaders deal with people-pleasing cultures. You will explore the attitudes and actions of laissez-faire pastors, controlling pastors, and peacemaking culture leaders, as well as the consequences of their approaches. You will also discover the role of the church in addressing people-pleasing cultures, including the commitment to peacemaking, involving others in the process, and establishing accountability and support systems.

Rick Sessoms
Peacemaking in the Church and Beyond
Lesson 6
Watching Now
Discussion of Conflict Cultures

Lesson: Discussion of Conflict Cultures

I. Attitudes and Actions of Pastors

A. Laissez-faire Pastor

B. Controlling Pastor

C. Peacemaking Culture Leader

II. Real-life Scenarios

A. Consequences of Laissez-faire and Controlling Approaches

B. Peacemaking Leader's Ideal Results

III. The Role of the Church in Addressing People-Pleasing Cultures

A. Commitment to Peacemaking

B. Involving Others in the Process

C. Establishing Accountability and Support Systems

  • Learn about the crucial role of leadership in conflict resolution, explore the various types of conflicts in the church, and understand the importance of building a peacemaking culture to prevent and address conflicts effectively.
  • In this lesson, you gain insights into the growth and crisis of the global church, with a focus on Africa, and learn about the tragic Rwandan genocide. You will examine the historical background of these crises, the church's role in addressing them, and the need to move beyond the Gospel of sin management. Embracing the four-chapter gospel, you will understand the church's responsibility as a community of reconciled people, embodying God's reconciling work in the world.
  • You will gain insights into the gospel and its applicability to everyday life, as well as its impact on society, including bringing reconciliation and creating heaven on Earth. The discussion acknowledges the difficulties of living out the gospel in society and the tension between living in the world and living for the gospel.
  • In this lesson, you'll gain insight into the sparks that ignite conflict in the church, understand how conflicts can escalate, and discover the importance of developing peacemaking skills and fully embracing the gospel to foster unity and resolve conflicts.
  • You will learn about conflict culture in the church, which is an inherited culture for resolving conflict shaped by visible and invisible elements and assumptions and values that drive conditioned responses, and how recognizing and addressing it can lead to healthy conflict resolution.
  • This lesson explores how pastors and church leaders address people-pleasing cultures, examining the attitudes and actions of laissez-faire, controlling, and peacemaking leaders, and discussing the role of the church in promoting peacemaking, involving others, and establishing support systems.
  • Crafting a culture of peace requires three building blocks: having a passion for the gospel, unified leadership that exhibits a shepherd's heart to protect and guide, and embracing a peacemaking theology. By focusing on these building blocks, we can create a harmonious society that avoids the slippery slope towards violence.
  • This lesson highlights the significance of unified leadership within the church, demonstrating how effective leadership can help overcome crises and conflicts. By examining factors that contribute to unity and disunity among leaders, you will gain insight into the importance of addressing issues such as control, communication, differing gifts, competition, and qualifications in order to maintain a cohesive and gospel-centered leadership team.
  • You will gain insight into the importance of preparation and certain characteristics that need to be in place before conflict in order to build a united leadership team, using an analogy of running a marathon.
  • This lesson provides insights on understanding conflict and developing a peacemaking theology, teaching you how to respond biblically and create an approach that honors God and benefits those involved in the conflict.
  • You will learn practical steps to overcome conflict by reflecting the glory of God, responding with humility and grace, prioritizing unity over self-interest, speaking the truth in love, and pursuing forgiveness and reconciliation.
  • By learning practical peacemaking tools and focusing on communication, you'll enhance your ability to resolve conflicts by mastering responsible listening and speaking, enabling you to better understand others and communicate your message more effectively.
  • You will learn about the importance of listening as a spiritual practice to connect with God and others, and how being open and attentive to God's voice through listening can lead to greater awareness of His presence and deeper relationships with Him and others.
  • Gain insights into the barriers to good listening, the 600 word gap between listening capacity and speaking rate, and the objectives of responsible listening to improve communication and build trust in relationships.
  • In this lesson, you learn about the vital role of responsible speaking and listening in conflict resolution and how taking responsibility for understanding others and being understood can improve the chances of successful outcomes, along with strategies to enhance communication.
  • Learn to manage the Grapevine, an informal communication network, and understand the roles of Centrals and Peripherals in sharing information, as well as conflict mediation techniques and the importance of acknowledging and accommodating uneven tables in disputes.
  • This lesson highlights the crucial role of peacemaking beyond the church, touching on the history of American evangelicalism, race relations, and the inspiring story of Koinonia Farm, which exemplifies the importance of fostering reconciliation in a divided world.

How conflict and leadership intersect..

Dr. Rick Sessoms
Peacemaking in the Church and Beyond
Discussion of Conflict Cultures
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:00] So would you guys like to start where these folks are dealing with the people pleasing cultures? So the three questions are what are the attitudes of the pastor when appointed, when approached by the lady? What are the actions he might take and what are the likely results? Who who'd like to jump? Jump in? So a lot of this in terms of this is we both I mean, it's just interesting because the the laissez faire kind of pastor, I've seen this in action with this issue even from not one but three, you know, other folks and maybe in accounts are people talking to me and such. And so you have that. One of two things happens when, you know, I hear you. Sorry, that's a problem. Just real listening, because this is a people pleaser. So while she's talking to them, you know, or and then also potentially like a minimizing or trying to make her think it's not as bad as it really. Or, you know, the idea of. Well, you know, I mean, you can kind of keep it in there. I mean, I'm putting I don't know, this pastor's theology of the idea of women or men. Maybe if you just continue to love him and you do that, you just kind of putting that on there. Not a whole lot of action steps by any stretch. And then you know what? What does this person do? Nothing in terms of, you know, the pastor doesn't at all feel the need to address it, to talk to the man at all or ask him how he's doing or any of that stuff, because that's their relationship. And how could. You want to get in the middle of a relationship. Nobody in especially somebody.

[00:01:54] These people, please. I mean, I've seen it break down in a couple of different ways and we were talking about it. Here is what could happen a thousand different ways. But one case that I know of specifically ended up in divorce and the two, because the woman went back to it, eventually had to sort of feel boundaries with her husband and say, you know, I can't have that sort of you're leading our kids in this. And, you know, that's and you became consumed with it. And and she she'd gone to the church for help. But the church continued that kind of laissez faire thing. And she ended up eventually because she didn't because it ended up in divorce, she was the one ostracized. And he still has leadership with different ministries at the church because nobody ever. Just that. And so that's real stuff. And yeah, yeah, that, that happened. But then another situation we talked about the woman was left with, You know, what I do is I just continue to feel devalued and I go to another page out of a different pastor version or how do you get I mean, that's it. I mean, our pastors even talked to a few people that are expected to do that kind of thing. I mean, I feel like in this day and age and the idea of church discipline is so far and so far, and that I think the typical person at a church I mean, I'm just throwing this out there. I'm asking, you know, this, but most and I want to say I'm not talking about the true believing seeking, but even even those folks that a man in our culture, for the pastor to come and say, you know, you're having a problem with this, how many how many men would be back at that church Members ask me, even if I mean, it would cause there's a hundred other churches that could go to.

[00:03:48] Right? Or not even have to go. I mean, you know, just but I think that's the fear and obviously the real culture, a real church, your issue and certainly that there's no there's no guarantees. And maybe we could just put this as a a landmark even when we do it right, even when there's a peacemaking culture, there's no guarantees that the result will be positive. But there is a biblical way of dealing with these issues. And, uh, the reason that this example was chosen is because it is so prolific in the church and in it is handled so variously in in churches, from church church. One that one way that I've seen it handled is the pastor does not confront the man, but he develops a sermon on the issue and hopes that the person gets the point, which he usually doesn't. But that's typically the way that it's that it's handled, whether it's that issue or or any other. Um, so yeah, it's a tough one. Just a tough, tough situation. Thank you. Thank you. Well, what about the controlling guy? Uh, the controlling leader. What what might be his attitude toward a problem like this? Actions and likely results. Likely results. Then the attitude would probably be to confront the woman, to force her husband to stop and or else action might be. Then she would leave and realize she couldn't. So you're saying the controlling person would put the pressure on the woman? Well, she's the one who came to her. Yeah. And I didn't think about a past. You're going to the man because I figured it would have to come through the woman to get to the man. But in essence. And if she doesn't listen to the controlling pastor.

[00:06:09] Then she may leave, go for help elsewhere. And the action, of course, is now getting to the root of the problem, because that's probably a symptom of something else that's going on. So the result, the pastor may scare away if she's not ready for change. And you either scare her away or, as she would say, if she wasn't ready for a change, she would stay there but feel isolated and. It's certainly not supported. Can you see a scenario where a controlling pastor might. Confront the situation like a bull in a china shop. Uh, go in with guns blazing and even share the information with others that are in power positions to bring the person under control. Um. Yeah. To pray for them. Yeah. Um, yeah, I've seen that kind of a scenario. That's, uh. It's tough. Yeah. Well, let's turn to the guys are supposed to have all the answers. Uh, the peacemaking, culture leader, attitudes, actions and likely result. We're fortunate We have the ideal so we can make it sweet and ideal. Okay. Attitudes. This pastor would probably have approach it with confidence rather than fear. He would approach it with hope rather than despair. And he probably would kind of say, you know, it's good that this has surfaced so we can deal with it before it implodes. So that's the attitude. That would be his attitude as he approached the situation. Some of it isn't for the unfreezing, but in there, you know, it's good. His actions, we anticipated that he would he would commit to this woman and her husband to be involved in the process with them, to walk through this with them. And then he would involve them in counseling either with him or with other people. And then he would.

[00:08:31] Establish an accountability support system for the Palestinian transition out of this bondage to freedom. So those would be some of his actions. Then the results are ideal results. Reconciliation between the husband and God, between husband and wife, waiting for the husband, and then reconciliation to the point where the husband actually becomes, after a while, a support for other men who are facing that same. So that's our ideal. But at least a recognition of the of the turmoil in the conflict and the devastation that he's doing to himself and to his family if he decides not to. So walk us through one more time the actions, because I thought that was those were particularly poignant and good. Walk through those steps. The pastor would commit himself to be involved in the process with them. Walk through that, walk through that with them as they tried to fix this problem and that he'd involve them in counseling into it himself or with other people who were more experienced here. And the third thing he said is that he, pastor, was help the husband establish an accountability support system to make that transition through. Tim, I don't want to put you on the spot, but as a pastor, did you deal with this kind of scenario, the past in the in the church where I was on senior staff, the the elder that was assigned to me. His wife came to me with this exact problem. Okay. So, yeah, I did. And if there there was so much that he he denied it. Oh, no. I'm just kind of on a chat room. But then when he was caught red handed in a number of situations. So what he tried to walk through with him, trying to walk through with her with all of the the fear and turmoil and the shock and and then trying to bring it together, I I'd like to say it worked out well, hidden.

[00:11:03] He decided that he wanted to the Internet and the porn more than you wanted his family so you know so their relationship ended and he was he was removed from the church and this was an. An elder. So I think I didn't know you were going to share that. And you didn't know I was going to ask, but no, I didn't. But thank you for sharing that. I think what this points up is that. Being committed to peacemaking does not always end in successful results, but it's. We're called to peacemaking because that is the gospel. It's just like when we share the gospel of Christ with others. It doesn't always result in a positive response, but it's it's the responsibility to live out the gospel. David The first time I fought against the attitude expressed because it was, you said confidence, not fear. And I said to myself, No, it's humility, not fear. We get through it. But then I realized that that is a confidence in God. You know, it's not a confidence that, hey, we can fix this. It's very good. And it's always we hope this will be appropriate at some point since you're dealing with a female and to bring another female into that. Yeah. My wife to help. Okay. Okay. Just to help. To say, you know, are you really hearing me from my perspective? That's actually I think that's real key to real love. And so before we take a break, could I could I ask you a couple of questions? Which way does your church tend to slide on this slippery slope? Or which way do the churches in your past tended to slide? On this slippery slope. And what has been the result of people pleasing or controlling responses in your church? As you think through those in the past.

[00:13:17] Anybody there's any there any examples come to mind quickly? I can go because the church in the past for for. I have seen is from leadership a very people pleasing and the church as a whole, people pleasing those few conflict people together way nearby talked about them because those are the words, you know, like in business meetings and things like that. But everybody else. Piece of the piece making phone calls. And I can say that there's, you know, several situations that the students that I know are still festering and never been addressed. Just a very long, long, long periods of time. So they tend to slide toward the people pleasing culture then. They're happy over on the extreme of that and super nervous if you start really dealing with that. They just like, oh, what your job, your way. They, they actually pursue a peacemaking culture and have some people who do the peacemakers ministry, but they do tend to slide towards the towards the controlling culture. If, if a conflict comes up, the senior pastor lead team undermine it. We fight fire with fire, get rid of the situation, drive the people away, and then cover it up by saying it was a preference thing or they were not following the direction of the church. In another church. I know it's a real life experience of this kind of stuff that I get from It's a church that's led by kind of a strong and actually a founding pastor and. When you meet him. He is the most spiritual sounding person ever. Through the years of people who have been closest to him. If they had conflict. It's amazing. But he's always the martyr or he's that he spiritualized it. And if you come in conflict with him, then.

[00:15:59] Then people now know that you're not a spiritual because you come in conflict with them and it's cause. I mean, I think his marriage actually fell apart, but nobody in his leadership gave him time off, made him take time off because he wanted to plow on through. And it's he was you know, he was a victim in that situation. At least that's the way it was fun. And I mean, just into this ongoing sort of you know, there's been staff members who have felt this kind of controlling thing. But he's allowing on because he's he's. He is the spirit of peace. And the spirit. The language is amazing and the brokenness is used. Some very, very key words there that are very, very telling. Sure. Q You ask the question, where does your church fit in? And so I immediately thought about this church, and it strikes me as I think about it. I would imagine we get different answers from different people to that question. I would. And why is that? Because different people on different issues have felt they've probably felt they've been on the short end of the stick or whatever power. I can't pick the right phrase, but I felt victimized. So if you feel like you're on the short end of the stick, you'd feel like it was a controller. Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. And then there would be other people on that same issue. What about the same issue? Who would say, Oh, really? Looks like a piece of property? Who's making culture here? Good point. And then other people would be on the other side of that issue and go, No, no, no. They're just please and they're not. So I think we get different answers from different people.

[00:18:05] That's a good point. Yeah, I can remember several different major controversies that occurred when I was on the board of Elders and significant things, and it was very interesting to watch different parties react, totally different to the same set of things. The saying. So a more pointed question as we before we take a break. What is your own leadership tendency? On the slippery slope of conflict. If you could, just as we close this part, make an arc on your piece of paper. And just without. Just just casually put an X where you might feel like you might right now. Tend to be on that arc. Wherever you are. It's okay. It's. I mean, this is not. Something you share publicly. But where are you on that arc? And after you've made that step that that X. Assuming that you're not right at the top, right north. And if you are, then maybe we need to have another discussion. But. But if you're not true. North. Take a just a moment or two and think about those what it is the be the peacemaking culture and peacemaking leader. And think about a step perhaps, that you could take in the next. Weeks and months to inch toward that true north. Is that a fair question? What might that look like for you? You don't have to write down. Just think about it. Just. Just ponder it in your mind.


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