Peacemaking in the Church and Beyond - Lesson 9

Unified Leadership (Part 2/2)

The lesson discusses the principles for building a united leadership team. The speaker emphasizes that certain characteristics of a united team need to be in place before conflict erupts. He uses an analogy of running a marathon, where one needs to be prepared physically before attempting the long and strenuous run. Similarly, it is not possible to tackle conflicts if the necessary preparations are not made beforehand. Thus, it is essential to have certain things in place to manage conflict effectively.

Rick Sessoms
Peacemaking in the Church and Beyond
Lesson 9
Watching Now
Unified Leadership (Part 2/2)

Lesson: Unified Leadership (Part 2/2)

I. Introduction

A. Crisis faced by a church in Pennsylvania

B. Importance of unified leadership in times of conflict

II. Importance of Unity in Leadership

A. Biblical examples of unity in leadership

B. Warning about disunity in leadership

1. Struggles contributing to disunity

2. Managing limited resources

III. The Role of Communication in Unity

A. The importance of good communication

B. Practical tools for effective communication

IV. Conclusion

A. The need for a passion for the Gospel

B. Leadership struggles and their impact on the church

  • 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
Unified Leadership (Part 2/2)
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:01] So then what do we do to build a united leadership team? We just give a couple of principles here that have been very helpful to me. There are certain characteristics of a united team that need to be in place before the conflict erupts. You cannot wait until the conflict erupts to put these things in place. Uh, it's kind of like running a marathon. I. Happened to run a marathon a number of years ago, and the one I chose to run was the San Francisco Marathon. And we ran through San Francisco. And if you know anything about San Francisco, it's a little bit hilly. And and as I as I ran, I, I trained for four months for this race. And so I finished it, but there were many who didn't. And I'm sure that those people wanted very badly to finish that race. But there was no way physically that they were able to make those that last six miles. Every step was uphill. And so it is not possible to run 26.2 miles if you're not prepared, I don't care how badly you want to. And so there are some things in the same way that conflict, some things have to be in place in terms of preparation before the conflict hits. If it hits and these things are in place, no matter how much you want it to be, the chances are very slim that you'll be able to make it so before the conflict, it is very important to establish trust. You're going to need it. You're going to need it in spades. It's important to build this before the issues arise, though. The way you go about this is one way is through what we call transparent sharing. Take time to listen to one another's stories.

[00:02:01] I remember when when I was leading a staff in another ministry, we would take regular times and simply listen to one another's stories, not just not just fleeting moments, but take time and listen to the complex make up of an individual. That's what I mean by the story is not just what a person believes or what they think about this issue, but to hear their story in all the three and three dimensional aspects of that person's life, it begins to help us understand one another. And thereby trust is built for the for the for the tough moments. The second one is like and to its share personal life experiences. Talk about what's really going on in your lives on a personal basis. This is very important as a as a habit, of course, with leaders sacrificing time and resources for one another, time is often our most precious resource rather than money. Take time to listen and understand one another. I asked for help by asking for another person for help. We model humility and a genuine need for community. You know, one of the things I'm learning is that I don't know a whole lot more than I know. Does that surprise you? And the way it comes about is that I know a little bit about leadership, but there's a whole lot more I don't know about leadership than I do know about leadership is the truth of the matter. And I know more about leadership than I know about anything else. And so there's probably a little bit about rocket science, I don't know, and there's a little bit about biology that I don't even know. I don't know. The point is, is it it's not hard to ask for help. When I really began to to face reality in my life about how much I don't know and how much help I really need in courage, mutual accountability, those kinds of relationships welcome each other's constructive corrections and observations.

[00:04:07] Those with positional authority need to initiate that mutual accountability. So if you're on a team and you lead it, it's important to extend the hand of vulnerability in terms of being accountable model peacemaking with one another in the small stuff and some things just aren't worth a are aren't worth arguing about. My son is attending college right now and the issue of unity came up in his classroom and he said, Dad, what is this unity about? What does it mean? And I point him to Ephesians chapter four, verses three through six, which says make every effort. In other words, do everything in your power. It needs to be active. It needs to be intentional, not just kind of floating along on the on the way, but do everything in your power to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. Then Paul provides Notice the parameters for this unity. He says there's one body and one spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and father of all who is overall and through all and in you all. Those are the parameters, Those are the limiters. Those are definers of what we're to be unified in. Then there are covenant on statements beyond this. Celebrate diversity. And so don't sweat. The small stuff is the point. Keep the main thing or main things, the main thing, and then finally create and maintain capital. That's the second principle you're going to need. You're going to use it. Establish trust you'll need. It may create and maintain capital. You'll use it. You know, just as in the financial world, capital grants me certain rights and privileges to speak. Relational capital also gives me rights and access to another person's life if I don't have capital.

[00:06:13] It's very difficult, if not improbable, that I'm going to be able to speak into another's life. When the chips are down. Capital comes and is developed by answering three basic questions. And here's the question is very simply. One is, do you respect me? I'm In other words, if a person you're building capital in and in in a person's life, when the answer to these three questions is yes in them, number one, do you respect me? In other words, are you judging me or will you betray my confidence? That's the first question. Do you respect me or are you judging me? Secondly, do you really care about me? Not just what I can do for you, but do you care about what I think? Do you listen to the hints that I drop along the way? Do you really care about. About me? And then thirdly, can you actually help me? So those are the three questions that establish capital for us and other people's lives. Do you respect me? Do you care about me? Can you actually help me? Do you have the competence and the commitment to help me to be of a benefit in my life? Now, just like a bank account. This capital is built over time. It's something that builds up. You'll need to expend some of this capital during conflict. You'll need to cash it in just like you would a stock or or a dividend. You'll need to cash it in during. You need to use it. It'll need to be in your Reserve Bank to use during the conflict. But if your bank is empty, you have nothing with which to function in the conflict situation. And so we talk often in dealing with conflict with leadership. Do you have capital beforehand? That has to be there.

[00:08:13] Now, then there's what is going on during conflict. And I want to suggest at this point, we're going to get a lot more detail later. But when you're building a united leadership team, the leadership team, these three issues are important. There's three areas of satisfaction that are critical. One is, is the leadership team, in order to be unified, needs to be satisfied with the process. It's called process satisfaction. In other words, provide a clear and fair process in which everyone has a reasonable opportunity to present his or her side of the matter. It is a critical mistake when we surprise others on the leadership team with a significant issue without giving them time to prepare for it. And so make it clear what the process is and stick with the process so that that process itself is understood and satisfactory to all the people involved. That's number one. Secondly, there's personal satisfaction. Whatever the issue, everyone on the leadership team needs to be treated respectfully and equally. Now we're going to talk about some issues about equality later on. But for now, it's important that we and how we do that equally is is tricky. But we'll we'll talk about that. Watch little things, particularly if you're the leader. Watch little things like eye contact or tone or body language. During an annual meeting in a church where I was the senior pastor back in 1992, I believe it was, or 93. I was moderating the annual meeting during a delicate issue. Very delicate issue. I won't tell you what it was about. It was delicate after one comment from a member from the floor. You know, we kind of had an open floor. The associate pastor was sitting beside me. I was standing up, but he was sitting beside me and he was facing the whole group of people who are probably a couple hundred people gathered for this thing.

[00:10:34] And this member said something that he obviously didn't was distasteful to him. He didn't say a word, but he rolled his eyes. He just rolled his eyes like that. And. I heard about it the next morning from probably half a dozen people. And I made the mistake of defending the associate and say, well, he didn't say anything. But the reality is he said everything. And it took probably two years to get the genie back in the bottle on that one. It is very easy to inadvertently brush people off in those moments. And when it's bad, when it's done and when it happens, it's best I've learned to admit it and work to rebuild the relationship when it happens. So personal satisfaction is critical during the conflict. And then thirdly, results those facts. Now, what does this mean? Ideally, everyone involved perceives that they've been hurt. That's the key. And we're going to be talking about communication and what it means to to responsible listening and so on and so forth. But for now, it's important to understand that everyone is convinced beyond doubt that they have been heard. Not that everybody agrees, but everybody has truly been heard and that the outcome is just. And in many cases, the solution is not going to satisfy everybody or anyone completely, for that matter. But if the conditions of process and personal satisfaction are met, then people will generally be satisfied, even if they are not in complete agreement on the final results. And so, in conclusion, as I was the leadership, so goes the congregation. And so pay a lot of attention to before the crisis and during the crisis when you're going through something like this. This is not a distraction from the ministry. This is the ministry because this is the gospel.

[00:12:42] And again, when we begin to measure the success of our ministry by how we deal with reconciling issues, that's a powerful thing. And it's so important for the leadership to model this image of Christ to each other and before watching congregation. So as you think through this issue about a united leadership team, in closing, uh, for those of you watching online and for us as here, the question is how would you characterize your leadership team? Is it strong, Is it cohesive or is it prone to division and discord? Or is it somewhere in between? The real question is, is the team strong enough to have different opinions? Because there will be different opinions. But do remain united in leadership. And, um, and so that that's a critical thing as we walk through. So before the conflict, establish trust, create and maintain capital, Then during the conflict, make sure to address all three of those satisfaction areas, process personal and results, satisfaction. We won't always agree, but we can make it together as a unified team.


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