Conflict is a spiritual stronghold that can immobilize even the strongest of Christian leaders. While this is a textbook for training and deploying mediators in the Anglican Church in North America, it is also a book for all who love the church yet lack a roadmap when dealing with conflicts. After years of mediating other peoples’ disasters, the authors know that, when followed, the principles they outline bring blessed resolution. Secular mediation works in a climate where money is the expected restorative, and where people (who will soon be going their own separate ways) are driven by perceived needs. Mediation in the Church is very different indeed. Its purpose is to restore relationships that will endure. Conflict among Christians always has restorative possibilities, because of the Cross of Jesus Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit. The power of Christian mediation lies in bringing to the light of Christ the relational disconnects that produced conflict in the first place, and correcting these in love. Because the Lord’s commandments to love one another and forgive one another are as practical as they are godly, resentments dissolve in the peace that Jesus Christ brings. People formerly at odds are grateful to again be in Christian fellowship, one with another. Even church conflicts that have reigned and ruled for years can be gone for good.
Chapters lay out the vision for Christian mediation, a peacemaker’s perspective, the benefits and limits of mediation, engaging with the parties, behaviors of a Christian mediator, developing listening skills, diagnosing highly charged situations, and mediation strategies. Christian mediation is not to be confused with Christian counseling, although the Christian mediator relies on the Holy Spirit for discernment and guidance. Thus the authors’ experiences and insights are remarkable for having helped people in the church, and people in business environments, to bridge seemingly impossible disputes so that conflicts that in some cases ruled for decades are lovingly resolved.
This textbook is available without charge (except for shipping and handling) to clergy and laity of the Anglican Church in North America.