Q: Our church conflict is a MESS! How could we possibly get out of this QUAGMIRE?
A. The Acts 15 Model for Redeeming Church Conflicts™
In Acts 15 a serious conflict arose in the early church. God gave those involved great wisdom, and that same wisdom is available to us today. We call this the Acts 15 model for redeeming church conflicts, and it is how we structure this book.
Perspective: In a church conflict, we can know for certain we have lost perspective if we begin to take conflicts as personal offenses. Conversely, if we see so-called “opponents” with eyes of compassion, we can know God is working in us to redeem this conflict for his glory and our growth.
Discernment: In a church conflict, we can know we are on the path of healing discernment if we find ourselves spending more time listening than speaking. Further, as we carefully form and ask questions seeking group health rather than merely advancing a personally favored solution, evidence emerges that God’s work of redemption is advancing not only his interests but also our holiness.
Leadership: In a church conflict, if we embrace our personal and individual responsibility for leadership within each of our own personal spheres of influence, we gradually become group problem solvers and increasingly turn away from narrow personal agendas. The more we see ourselves as shepherd-leaders serving others among God’s flock, the greater the opportunity for creating an environment from which peace will flow.
Biblical Response: In a church conflict, as we remember that Christ loves his church more than we ever will and that he has paid more for it than we ever will, our confidence in the Bible and our commitment to faithfully pursuing biblical responses to conflict will be clear and steadfast. One of the biggest mistakes people make in church conflict is failing to trust Scripture.
(c) Tara Barthel & David Edling, “Redeeming Church Conflicts” (Baker Books, 2012)