Conflict Transformation Ministry Brochure (2011)
(58 kb PDF download)
The most powerful tool for process in a circle dealing with a conflicted situation is an open-ended, positive question.
Take the time and care to craft questions that evoke the positive experiences, dreams and constructive responses, e.g. "What are your hopes for this meeting?" instead of "What are the problems that have brought you here?"
Positive questions promote the forward momentum of good process, e.g. "If your hopes for our meeting are fulfilled, what will our world, our community and our relationships look like?"
In the sacred space of conflict, remembering grace-filled moments and expressing dreams of a preferred future, the primary question is always: "What is God's love calling us to be and to do?"
Truth-Telling -- a lesson plan for pastors and church groups
(Five minutes) Begin with introductions and prayer
(20 minutes) Truth has the power to transform:
- a friendship (or other relationship) can be "true" and transforming
- art can speak the truth to us in a way that we hadn't seen it before
- when exposed to the truth, our passion for justice can be spurred to action
- truth spoken in the context of politics can transform whole societies (e.g. the peaceful revolution in East Germany, begun in the churches, or the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions in South Africa or other countries)
- If we live our lives authentically, it is a kind of truth that speaks volumes
- Truth and love spoken together can change a hardened heart
- A lie enslaves us in complicated deception; truth simply sets us free
- In 12-step programs, truth is told in a relationship of give and take. Lying is a part of addiction, and fellow addicts can challenge the lies.
Can you think of other ways the truth can transform? How does truth transform a congregation toward the will of God?
In groups of three or four, each tell of a time when telling a lie changed things for the worse abruptly, or tell of a time when telling the truth was healing.
(15 minutes) In the large group, list on newsprint some lies that infected the Body of Christ in a church you have been a part of. What are the "Elephants in the room" that were not acknowledged in the church's meetings and planning? Now that you've named the infection, how did or how could truth-telling stimulate the immune system of the Body of Christ?
(20 minutes) In pairs or triads, take one of your churches as a case study, and write on newsprint:
- The way God is working in them and blessing through them "God has moved us to: ..."
- The challenges facing them "God has not yet showed a way: ..."
If time, say: What do we expect of each other? Truth often measures up to expectations. If we lie to cover our discomfort, people know. The expectation of truthfulness can be raised or lowered in a congregation. In what ways have you seen this happen?
Case studies may be added to this lesson plan