Our church conflict is a MESS! How could we possibly get out of this QUAGMIRE?

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)

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About Tara Barthel

Tara Klena Barthel formerly served as the Director of the Institute for Christian Conciliation. As such, she oversaw hundreds of conciliation cases (including conflicted church interventions) through the international network of trained conciliators. Tara also provided oversight and leadership for all advanced conciliator training. Currently, she serves her family as a homemaker while occasionally accepting cases as a mediator, arbitrator, and conflicted church intervention team member. Currently enrolled at Reformed Theological Seminary and pursuing her Master's Degree in Religion, Tara consults with businesses and ministries on the legal risk management issues attendant to conflict; designs and presents custom training on biblical conflict resolution for churches, missions agencies, and parachurch organizations; speaks frequently at women’s conferences and retreats; and is currently working on many new writing projects. Tara is the author of the Living the Gospel in Relationships video series and co-author of Peacemaking Women—Biblical Hope for Resolving Conflict (Baker Books, 2005), and Redeeming Church Conflicts--Turning Crisis into Compassion and Care (Baker Books, 2012; second imprint Hendrickson Publishers 2016). Prior to moving to Billings, Montana to join the staff of Peacemaker Ministries, Tara worked as an attorney and business consultant in Chicago. Tara earned her law degree and M.B.A. from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and her B.A. in psychology from Augustana College (Illinois).
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