Notes provided by Allen Suit from breakout at the Midwest Leadership Summit 2020
WHEN 2 OR 3 ARE GATHERED, THERE IS CONFLICT
(David Manner, Kansas/Nebraska Associate Director)
Root causes of conflict:
o Relational/leadership deficiencies
o “Conversational narcissism” – talking to/about ourselves. (Ex.: talking about how we/I prefer worship vs. who we worship)
o Conflict is inevitable, but does not need to be fatal.
o Spend more time at the table (communion):
Have often made this ordinance a routine and occasional experience.
Ideally, reconciliation would happen before you come to the table. Relational healing is available when you come to the table.
Variety of ways to do communion, so that it is not routine.
o Take care of our own 10% of the conflict:
Staff conflict often happens because each person operates as an independent contractor vs. a team member.
Staff need to be in community. Typical reasons why they would be in conflict:
• Aren’t pastoring each other
• Aren’t loving each other
• Aren’t praying for and with each other
• Aren’t sharing ministry together (e.g., territorial and defensive)
• Aren’t playing together
o Play the ball where the monkey drops it
Resilient and flexible vs. rule-bound
Ex: In 1820’s, the British built the first golf course in India. The monkeys would pick up the ball and move it (into the rough, into the fairway, etc.). Tried lots of things to prevent the monkeys from doing it. Finally, they changed the golf rule to say, “play it wherever the monkey drops it.”
o Drink coffee with the senior adults:
Really listen and hear them out.
Jumping into change without considering the consequences can leave people feeling marginalized.
Options: (a) Demolition: take a wrecking ball to the church, splintering everything. (b) Deconstruction: repurposing elements of the structure, reclaiming their value.
o Seek unity, not uniformity:
o Enter the danger:
Don’t avoid conflict, hoping it goes away. It only goes underground and will surface later.
o Break camp and cross the river
You may get to the point when you are just appeasing conflicters. If God is calling, then you may need to move, even if they are not willing to go there.
o You are ushers, not the bride:
Humility. When you think you have it, you no longer have it.
Help others find their place.
Deference vs. preference. (Ex.: you know the names of famous Everest climbers, but it is the Sherpas who get them there).
How will you assist others vs. yourself. (Ex: baseball. “Lay down a bunt” – sacrificing for others).