If you are in leadership, conflict is inevitable. Whether you are a pastor or an overseer, conflict can deteriorate to such an unmanageable level, that barring a miracle, a major rupture within the church, or serious injury to Innocent people is inevitable. Calling upon the services of a conflict resolution specialist before the conflict goes beyond the point of no return may be pivotal to the church's health, well-being, and functional survival.
So why don't some church leaders who feel conflict avail themselves of the help sanctioned by Jesus (Mat. 5:9)? Here are three answers.?
1. It Costs Too Much. With all due respect, this can't be the real reason. If just two or three families leave the church because they are weary and wounded from conflict, the church will lose more income than the cost of bringing in a church conflict resolution specialist. "It cost too much" can't be the real reason.
2. It Will Create More Conflict. "Better to ignore a backyard hornet's nest than try to remove it and really stir things up." This is the way some people think about church conflict. But why don't we say the same thing about people in sin? "Leave her alone. She will steal more clothes at the mall tomorrow if you confront her about the clothes she stole today." The first and most effective way to deal with reality is to name it. Hence, to acknowledge the existence of conflict in the church doesn't magically create more of it. To the contrary, it is the essential first step toward containing it.
3. The Leader is Embarrassed to Admit that He Really Doesn't Know What to Do. Deep down, this is a core reason why church leaders won't avail themselves of the help of a peacemaker. They are reluctant to acknowledge that they haven't been able to manage the conflict, and that the conflict itself, like a tornado, is moving in a direction of its own making, not theirs. But there is absolutely no shame in such an admission. The real failure is not naming that reality and acting accordingly.
Keep in mind that in organizational life of any kind, leaders tend to blame those directly engaged in conflict without realizing that their own actions, or lack thereof, contribute to the workings of the entire system. If, out of frustration, leaders act rashly or with a heavy hand to quell conflict, the division quickly deepens. Conversely, inaction or a "wait and see" attitude is the tinder by which the conflict steadily grows. As Edmund Burke noted, "the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."
So what should church leaders do? They should take the one step that offers the best chance of resolving the conflict in a manner that preserves the fellowship of the church. They should utilize the services of one trained in helping people make peace! Jesus sanctioned the work of peacemakers by calling them "blessed." Church leaders, therefore, have no reason to be embarrassed by allowing the people they serve to share in such blessing. Indeed, being open to and following the will of God is what exemplary church leadership is all about!
[from MMI Weblog by Todd Rhoades]