Embracing Conflict and Ministry Growth

Conflict is never fun. Most of us avoid it at all costs, especially if we are in ministry. But in a creative ministry it is inevitable. I had an experience with conflict that really opened my eyes to the brighter side of interpersonal entanglements. It allowed me to view conflict as a tool to healthy growth instead of something negative.

Our worship team was really growing. Lots of people getting involved, seeing God working in hearts.  It was really exciting. I came to the realization that we had too many people participating within one team.  It was getting very inefficient and limiting for growth. So I made a decision to expand the teams so that there was room for growth as well as room for leaders to be placed in key roles to support all the new volunteers. Everything seemed to make sense.

The day came to share the changes with the worship team. Before rehearsal started, I explained that I would be making some changes to allow some new people to participate, and that there would be some new leaders that would take on roles to help out. Everyone was very excited and there was good discussion.  Suddenly, one of the team members stands up, looks around and asks, “Does anyone else have a problem with what Jason is doing?”

This team member as a very tall and rather intimidating  individual. This brought the positive discussion to an abrupt halt.  Everyone started looking around  non verbally asking the question, “What just happened.” One at time, the other team members voiced their support for the changes and eventually the individual who had the issue sat down, visibly frustrated that others had not supported him.

There was such an awkwardness in the room. I had no idea what do. I was pretty new in ministry and I didn’t know this individual very well. The entire team was looking at me to do something to resolve the situation and I was looking for the door.

I made the decision to ask the individual who had caused the disruption to step into the other room. It would put the meeting on hold, but I felt that the incident required immediate action. So we went into the other room and sat down. I took a few minutes to hear his concerns, I acknowledged his frustration and apologized if I had been insensitive to his perspective. Then I firmly stated that my decision had been made and that it was his choice to cheerfully support it or he could walk out the door.

What happened next is what really amazed me. I expected a strong reaction from this person, but surprisingly received one of genuine support. In the end, I realized that this individual really only wanted me to hear him. He didn’t care about getting his way. He just wanted to know that I valued him and his participation.

This forever changed my perspective about conflict. Even though dealing with conflict is never fun, it can grow everyone involved in ways that are really beneficial.

Next time you have to deal with some conflict, try going into it with a little different perspective. The outcome may be just what you need to grow.

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