Support and Resources For Pastors and
Christian Ministry Professionals
Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor
| MH Website Overview | Ministry Resources
| MH Archives | MH Dissertations
What To Do When The
Conflict Consultant Comes
by Barbara Schmitz, Editor
From Conflict Communiqué, Vol. 2, No. 1
- Let's suppose that the judicatory or
conflict consultants have been called to quell the
trouble in your church. As the pastor, you may well be at
the center of the storm. What can you do to improve the
possibilities of having a good outcome? Here's a short
list of "to do's (and to don'ts):"
- 1. Be on time for appointments with the
consultant; return phone calls promptly. Have any
materials that the consultants requested ready and on
good, clean copy (*don't overdo it, but don't be sloppy
here). Be a goo host. Have coffee ready. Be hospitable.
- 2. Don't be defensive. Listen carefully.
Don't interrupt. (There's a good change your parishioners
have already complained, or will shortly, about all
three). Listen first, then reflect feelings, you know,
all that stuff you learned in CPE...."Hmmm, I can
see how Jim would be upset....hmmm"
- 3. Don't unload on the consultants.
Rather, get a colleague/coach who can help you process
the emotions you are gong through. The consultants are
not your confessors. They are people who may or may not
be very good at what they do. Dump your anxiety
elsewhere, and in Friedman's words, be a non-=anxious
presence to your consultants. For more on engaging a
coach/confessor, see Ken Haugks' book, Antagonists in
- 4. Don't get angry; don't swear; don't
make any threats; don't throw books on the floor; don't
do anything that isn't your very best behavior. Reason:
it will only substantiate what your parishioners probably
said/will say about you. Don't give the consultants any
reason to believe the you are anything but a gentle and
kind, competent clergy person (of course, if you aren't,
that's another matter...).
5. Avoid getting into detail about specific
complaints against you; focus instead on patterns...."Yes,
Mrs. Smith has a pattern of withdrawing from church and
threatening to lower her pledge..." Avoid loaded language
such as "Yes, Mrs. Smith is crazy and blackmails the church
with her $10 a week pledge!" Express the latter to your
6. The bottom line: You want to help the
consultants to not focus on your behavior, and to focus instead
on the recurring, destructive patterns of behavior (e.g. gossip,
withdrawal, criticism, etc.).
Index Articles 1-49
Articles 50-99 Articles
100-149 Articles 150-199
200-249 Articles 250-299
Articles 300-349 Articles
Copyright © 1997-2004 Ministry
Health, LLC All Rights Reserved.
FrontPage and Microsoft Internet Explorer are registered trademarks of
Adobe Acrobat and PDF are registered trademarks of Adobe Systems
Hosted and Developed by SAMSA
was revised on:
Tuesday, October 05, 2004 11:02:27 PM