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  • Writer's pictureJen Weaver

Ideas for resolving conflict at church when things get sticky

Reaching out when there's been an incidence of hurt feelings at church can be a healing experience. It may lead to peaceful resolution, and strengthen a relationship. It can also be a disaster. Here are some ideas for what may be helpful (and not helpful).

  • Asking ahead of time, "Can we talk? There's something I've been concerned/worried about." Then, communicating with calm words and body language at an agreed upon time and place.

...not helpful ↓

  • Springing an emotionally charged conversation on another person about an issue they are unprepared to discuss, at an inappropriate time/place, or without their consent.



  • Statements such as, "I feel" or "I'm concerned about" and then giving the other person a chance to express their feelings too.

...not helpful ↓

  • Blame statements that begin with "You" (or other personal pronouns) and/or a one sided conversation where little to no listening takes place.


  • Giving room for the other person to "save face" a bit. It can be difficult for any of us to admit to 100% wrongdoing.

...not helpful ↓

  • Holding on to an "I'm right, you're wrong" mentality and/or accepting nothing less than someone taking 100% responsibility for their actions or the situation.


  • Understanding that not everyone is comfortable with resolving conflict. And, some issues may be extra sensitive for some, or even an emotional trigger. Respect the other persons boundaries if/when they are unable to engage in a conversation about a conflict.

...not helpful ↓

  • Pushing boundaries with someone unwilling to communicate, or ignoring signs that they are uncomfortable (even if you aren't angry or your intentions are good).


  • Love people where they are at. Think of when someone has done that for you and how it led to later change or made a difference.

...not helpful ↓​

  • Expecting others to be where you think they "should be."


If your best efforts fail and resolution isn't possible

It's okay. Sometimes relationships can't be perfect -- even at church. Give the situation over to God, and do your best to be kind and forgiving. Remember that people are imperfect and we are all still growing! I could be that this isn't the right time to address this particular concern for reasons you now don't understand. If the situation escalates to bullying, a different approach may be necessary. 



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