Embrace the Conflict

Embrace the Conflict

If you want an excellent small-group ministry, you’ll need to learn to handle conflict well.
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The reality could be any number of things. Maybe it was a royal screw up, but maybe his event—or your event—mistakenly didn't get placed on the calendar. Maybe one of them got placed on the calendar wrong. Maybe his worship event, that you thought was some big thing, was actually just a small gathering for a half-dozen worship leaders.

And even if it was just a totally boneheaded move on his part, he probably wasn't thinking, "Oh, small groups aren't that important. I don't need to worry about those." There are a thousand reasons he may have decided to do what he did, but nine times out of ten, there was no ill intent.

3. You're not alone.
You might be surprised to learn that the worship pastor—and children's pastor and men's ministry director—often feels the same way you do.

The worship pastor (rightly) sees his role as an incredibly vital one, helping people bring honor and glory to God, the very thing that we were created to do. And he gets frustrated when he wants to gather people to worship God, but it seems that all of the key gathering times are taken up with small-group activities.

Or that time when his guitarist stepped down from the worship team to lead a small group? He was doing his best not to lose it on you. A lot of people can lead a small group. There are only a handful that are decent guitarists. Are you beginning to see the other side?

The Right Tactics

Once you're able to approach the situation with the right heart and perspective, you'll need to use the right tactics. Regardless of where your heart's at, if you use terrible tactics, the conversation isn't going to go very well.

I've written previously on how to have tough conversations, so I'll just keep it to the basics here.

Prep Work
I'm like a detective. I'm trying to figure out what's really going on. If I have to address a problem, I want to have all the facts beforehand.

I also try to get a second opinion. I need to make sure my head is on straight before deciding to deal with an issue. If I'm way off base, it's better to hear that from a third party.

Finally and most importantly, pray about it. Prayer can be the difference between a difficult conversation that causes a falling out, and one that begins a process of progress, discipleship, healing, or growth.

By the end of the preparatory process, my goal is to have a game plan going into the conversation. I want to know where we are and some potential next steps.

Talk It Out
Get perspective, plan, prepare, pray, but at some point you just have to engage. First, relax. If you're stressed, nervous, or angry, that's probably going to come through. If you're relaxed, the other person is more likely to feel at ease, too. That's part of why prayer is so important. You're praying for the other person, but you're also praying that you will handle the situation well and have a holy confidence.

Start by listening. Say as little as possible at the beginning. Spend a lot of time asking for the other person's thoughts, opinions, perspectives, and feelings. Begin with, "I've heard some concerns that …" or, "I noticed this, and I wasn't sure what to make of it. Can you help me understand?" What the other person has to say is important for two reasons: they are important, and you might be wrong.

More on Handling Conflict

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