I would recommend that every church at least be familiar with Peacemaker Ministries and the resources that they offer. I recently had an opportunity to lead a group through their small-group DVD set and study guide, and the feedback was very encouraging, with tangible fruit produced.
They have a church resource set, which contains posters, sermon outlines, a DVD, leader’s guide, and small-group participants’ guides. This is a great way to introduce a “culture of peacemaking” throughout the church. A newer resource is a DVD-based group study designed specifically church leadership teams, called The Leadership Opportunity: Living Out the Gospel Where Conflict and Leadership Intersect.
Here are some free online resources that give you an idea about their approach:
Getting to the Heart of Conflict – Conflict starts in the heart. Therefore, if we fail to address the heart in a conflict, then any solution will fall short of true reconciliation.
The Four G’s – The biblical system for resolving conflict is captured by “The Four G’s”: Glorify God, Get the log out of your own eye, Gently Restore, and Go and be reconciled.
The Slippery Slope – A visual tool for understanding the ways people tend to and ought to respond to conflict.
The Seven A’s of Confession – A guide to making a sincere and complete confession.
The PAUSE Principle – A biblical approach to negotiation.
The Four Promises of Forgiveness – A great way to remember what you are really saying (and committing to) when you say “I forgive you.”
The Peacemaker’s Pledge – Complete summary of biblical peacemaking, suitable for churches or organizations to commit to together.
Relational Commitments – A way for a church to make a mutual commitment to work together to pursue unity, maintain friendships, preserve marriages, and build relationships that reflect the love of Christ.
The Gospel of Peace Mirrored Through Peacemaking – A summary statement of how the gospel of Jesus Christ is at the core of biblical peacemaking.
Let me give you a quick outline of one of these resources (go here for the full version). They talk about The Slippery Slope, a very helpful visual for thinking about the different ways we can and should respond to conflict:
On the left side are three responses typically used by those who want to avoid or get away from conflict instead of resolving it. Starting with the most extreme, they are:
On the other side of the slippery slope spectrum are attack responses, going to the most extreme:
In the middle are responses of conciliation, recognizing that the gospel is the key to peace.
The six responses are divided into two categories:
- Overlook an offense
Again, I find these sorts of tools very helpful for providing a grid of responses to conflict.
If you’re looking for helpful books applying peacemaking to various roles and aspects of life, here is what WTS Books carries:
- Ken Sande, Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict, 3rd ed.
- Alfred Poirier, The Peacemaking Pastor: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Church Conflict
- Tara Klena Barthel and Judy Dabler, Peacemaking for Women: Biblical Hope for Resolving Conflict
- Ken Sande with Tom Raabe, Peacemaking for Families: A Biblical Guide to Managing Conflict in Your Home
- Ken Sande and Kevin Johnson, The Peacemaker Student Edition: Handling Conflict without Fighting Back or Running Away
- Corlette Sander, The Young Peacemaker: Teaching Students to Respond to Conflict in God’s Way