Strengthening Community Lecture Notes

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Strengthening Community Lecture Notes (parts 3 and 4). From lectures given by Mike and Ros Oman, Brussels, Jan 2011.


Conflict is normal -- not a sign of disunity or brokenness or failure.

Conflict = disagreement between people of different ideas and beliefs.

Issue is how we DEAL with conflict -- that is what matters.

Approach conflict in a way that is honouring to God, honouring the other and in humility. Not to win.

When Conflict Comes

Three things necessary to resolve the conflict

  1. Deal with my attitude
  2. Diagnose the problem
  3. Use the right tools to fix it

Dealing With My Attitude

What am I unnecessarily contributing to the conflict?

Luke 6:45 NLT

Are we allowing God to change the outside or are we living on the outside an unreality and unchanged on the inside?

When we get kicked -- what comes out -- Honey or Acid?

Conflict is God's idea -- because it forces us to address issues in our own hearts. e.g. Babel.

If in humility then ask when we are in conflict -- what in me is contributing to the conflict?

Rom. 7:15 -- Paul doing the wrong thing despite wanting to do the right thing.

Root is things in us that God wants to deal with (attitudes)

Realities -- The Hope of Glory, Catz/Katz, Aaron

What Causes Inner Conflict:

  • Unrelinquished Rights
  • Unforgiveness / Bitterness (in a multi-national team it is inevitable that we will hurt each other)
  • Guilt (undealt with sin)
  • Fear
  • Insecurity
  • Poor Self-image
  • Ingratitude

God allows conflict in our lives to prove us (Pr 27:17 -- friends encourage and also challenge: iron sharpens iron)

Diagnosing the Problem

Do I really understand the issue?

  • Illusion verses reality (Isa 11:3 never judge by appearance, false evidence (gossip) or hearsay)
  • Gossip -- false evidence.
  • Peacemaker definition -- passes on good things heard about others and never pass on the bad things.
  • Always talk to the person in a conflict not others EXCEPT those who have a right or ability to help with.
    • Leaders above me (about those I lead)
    • Mentors who aid me
    •  ?

Q: What about spouses on leadership teams together?

  • Danger of offence towards the another when spouse is attacked.
  • Marriages -- both need to have capacity to carry the emotional responsibility together even if only on is on the team.
  • Marriages -- giving freedom to other to have confidences in professional counselling situations.
  • M and W are one. Basic unit. Biblical value on relationships. Consider when inviting onto leadership teams.
  • Anamcara -- (Mentor and confident) Irish word for a soul mate.
  • Singles on leaderships -- how do they get depth of support in relationships.
  • How to help all staff to get that sort of person?
  • Understand the battlefield -- Eph 6:12 -- we fight in spiritual realm not in the human realm.
    • Areas in our lives where we have not personally gained spiritual authority over that cause no problem in our home environment, that when we come to a new place the spirits in that area bring temptation and difficulty. We are vulnerable because we have not had to win the battle their before
    • Belgium: controlling spirit and stubbornness? (e.g. Visa permission problems?)
      • Stubbornness -- like sin of idolatry
    • Spiritual warfare from a personal sin perspective...

What Are the Factors That Contribute to the Conflict?

Facts -- what things are and how they got that way

  • Go and ask what did you mean by that? I don't think I understand you.
  • Try not to believe the worst -- assume positive intent.

Needs -- what people feel they need for security and respect.

  • What are the unmet needs that contribute

Values -- long range beliefs about how things ought to be (may be sub-conscious)

  • When not addressed or threatened they cause conflict
  • We can also even misunderstand and dispute our YWAM values because of cultural viewpoints, even though rooted in Bible.

Positions -- Goals of the best way to realise a need.

  • How I think it should be fixed
  • Roles and Responsibilities but NOT position in YWAM

Methods -- Ways felt to be acceptable in achieving goals.

  • Based on experience - what has worked before?

All these factors need to be named and talked about - not judged.

Unity vs. Uniformity

Unity is harmony in diversity -- it is the willingness to embrace each other whilst giving each other the freedom to be believe or act differently to yourself.

Uniformity is to require each other to conform to our own narrow set of perspectives and values as a prerequisite to our acceptance of each other.

God has called us to UNITY -- John 17:22,23; Ephesians 4:1-6

Take time to learn

  • Identify with the other person. Put self in their place, value their perspective.
  • Affirm their value
  • Encourage them to participate -- help reluctant communicators/poor communicators to express. Shut up. Internal processing needs time.
  • Develop your listening skills
  • Expect to learn -- maybe I am wrong.
  • Remember that people are more important than principle. (Find ways to value and empower the person I am in conflict with and restore the relationship)
  • Leave the door open for further processing (because can't do it all at once -- all have layers of things in hearts and each time we come together we need more. Not as a threat etc.)
    • Resolution is not a state but a journey we walk together

Develop Your Listening Skills

Ten Commandments:

  1. Stop Talking -- you can't listen if you are talking (even in your head).
  2. Put the talker at ease.
  3. Show that we want to listen. Listen to understand rather than to reply.
  4. Remove distractions. Don't doodle, tap or shuffle papers, etc.
  5. Need to empathise with the person. Try to put ourselves in their place/situation.
  6. Be patient. Allow plenty of time.
  7. Hold our temper. Anger distorts our understanding. Acknowledge: "Right now I am feeling angry, can you give me a few minutes..."
  8. Go easy on argument and criticism. Don't argue: if we win we lose! (If we persuade through argument my way is best, then we still have not resolved the relational problem)
  9. Ask Questions. This encourages the person and shows we are listening.
  10. Language problems: OK to stop and acknowledge our language is limiting us, shall we break and get some help or some way to constructively work at this together.

And Again I Say:

  1. Stop talking. All the other commandments depend on it.

Face to Face is the place to do it.

Day 4 Mediation

Perserverence in Relationships

Using the Right Tools

Two basic ways of behaviour:

  1. assertive -- extent to which I try to satisfy MY concerns/wishes
  2. cooperative -- extent to which I try to satisfy THE OTHERS concerns/wishes

Five Ways of Handling Conflict

(which approach is appropriate varies in each given circumstance)

  1. Competing: Power orientated -- use of money, education, position, etc. (forcefulness)
  2. Collaborating: Both willing to let go -- come up with a NEW thing together.
  3. Compromising: Give and Take.
  4. Avoiding: Pretend the problem is not there
  5. Accommodating: "Whatever you say"

All five are useful and have good aspects in the right situation. We have a preference for some styles and this tempers our behaviour.

Ways of Handling Conflict




  1. To move up from Avoidance and Accommodation takes COURAGE and PROACTIVE choice. Asserting our opinion can help here.
  2. To move right from Avoidance and Competition takes COOPERATION and CONSIDERATION

God brings us together as an international group to enhance our expression of Jesus.


Bringing correction when someone has done something wrong.

All called to do this -- generally -- a one-another.

Responsible to lovingly confront each other. Do it lovingly and graciously.

Handling confrontation and forgiveness

Steps to solving conflict:

  • Admit there is a problem! Don't put the problem on the other person.
  • Determine the area at issue and become aware of your contribution to it.
  • Talk with God about it. Remember he is your loving Heavenly Father, and he wants to help you.
  • Choose the right time and right place to talk with other person together about it.
  • Share your contribution to the problem and how you are willing to change.
  • Stay focussed
  • Be honest with yourself about your attitudes
  • Listen and try to understand where the other person is coming from
  • Look at alternative solutions and choose the best one.
  • Ask God's forgiveness and each others
  • Be thankful for what has been accomplished.
  • If you can't solve the problem in one session back away and try again later, but still act lovingly toward one another.

Ps. 34:12-14

Attitudes are difficult to understand if right or wrong (sin or culture e.g. theft or communal property!) Pray for attitude to turn into action. Action can be more clearly understood and addressed.

Be prepared to put much time into it. It might not be solved in one session.