My co and I are embarking on yet another book manuscript, this one about "women who wound and how to lead them." It's an unpleasant fact of life that, even in the church, mis-handled conflict threatens relationships, productivity, and reputations. In the church especially, Christ's reputation is at stake. Some of us naive people might think there won't be so much backstabbing, manipulation, gossip, hurt, misinterpretation--you know, sin!--in the world of ministry. But we forgot one basic truth--the church is made up of, yes, sinners!
So what to do? How do we deal with this inevitable discord? The Bible, whose principles our book will explore indepth, has lots to tell us about that. I bet you do, too. I'd love to hear some of your stories. If you would like to share what you've learned from a past conflict, post a general comment.
I would also appreciate any detailed stories you might contribute to our research--we are always on the lookout for real-life illustrations (names changed to protect the guilty!). Think through these basic steps, then email me privately:
Walk me through the story: who was involved, when (how long did it last), what was the substance of the conflict, give a step by step description of how it played out. Then consider: how did you feel during various stages? were you surprised by the conflict? Finally, what did you learn from the experience?
We're looking mostly for women vs. women stories [aside: my Sunday school teacher jokingly asked how many volumes this book would be. Yikes! We girls have a rep...], but obviously men and women experience disagreements and problems as well. And we deal with them differently. If you have an example of how men and women handled a conflict with one another badly or well, similarly or differently, please share. Thanks!
The goal of our work is to equip women to better expect and biblically deal with the inevitable conflict. In particular, we will focus on women in the church and how they can be peacemakers within their sphere of influence. Perhaps we can shake up the stereotype!