The goal of resolving conflict is never to be right; it's to make progress. I'm not trying to prove a point or make someone pay. One way to help ensure that others know you value them and their role on the team is just by listening to what they have to say. Even if you believe the other person is wrong, honestly listen to his or her perspective before you share yours.
Plus, despite your preparation, there may be something you've missed. I've been known to have the occasional bout of foot-in-mouth disease, and one of the best treatments I've found is simply to listen first and speak second. Sometimes I'm just wrong. Don't let your preparation and fact finding get in the way of listening to the perspective of the person you're meeting with.
One important lesson I've learned is to pay attention to my gut as I have these tough conversations with others. I've ignored that more than once and paid the price. The facts are important. The conversation is important. But neither are as important as the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the Shepherd of his Church, and he will work through his Spirit to guide us in helping him shepherd it.
Don't settle for mediocrity because you're unwilling to embrace conflict. Your mission is too important. Instead, learn to lean into the conflict for a healthier, stronger ministry.
—Will Johnston is the Director of Build Community at Eastside Christian Church in Anaheim, California.