Making Your Small Group Work Extended Tip 2

Extended Tip 2: When Groups Get Messy Part 2 – Conflict Resolution

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Definition:
Conflict is normal! In every group, there will be people with different opinions, people who bug you, and times when you step on each other’s toes. Conflict resolution is needed when two or more people contribute to a relational breakdown.

There are two types of conflict:
• Discord from disagreement, which requires resolution
• Relational breakdown, which requires reconciliation

Conflict shows itself in one of two ways:
• There is individual conflict within the group (two or more individuals are in conflict)
• There is group conflict—the group is divided Biblical references:
• Ephesians 4:25—“put off falsehood and speak truthfully”
• Proverbs 19:11—“it’s to [a man’s] glory to over look an offense”
• Proverbs 18:19—“ an offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city”

Why conflict resolution is important:
• Conflict takes the group off track from its mission
• If you don’t deal with conflict, it won’t get resolved, and then it will destroy relationships (unity/community) or even the group itself
• Dealing with conflict is part of the life-changing power of a group; it brings a new level of honesty and safety
• Processing conflict in a healthy way is a spiritual formation process and can help in other relationships outside of the group too
• This practice is in line with the five habits

How to do it:
• Check your attitude and motivation
• Affirm and validate the person or relationship
• Name reality: bring it to the person and group and say “this is my experience” and its impact; be clear and direct with specific examples (i.e., “I feel like she ran over me just now . . .”)
• Allow the other party to respond
• Listen and seek to understand their response— this is a conversation
• Together, formulate a solution to the problem—find the “third place”

Share Your Thoughts

Has your group struggled in this area? Share your stories and tips with fellow small group leaders in the comments section below.

Dr. Henry Cloud

Dr. Henry Cloud is a popular speaker, and co-host, with Dr. John Townsend, of the nationally broadcast New Life Live! Radio program, and cofounder of Cloud-Townsend Clinic and Cloud-Townsend Resources. His bestselling books include the Gold Medallion Award-winning Boundaries books and Making Small Groups Work. Dr. Cloud and his wife and two daughters live in Southern California.

Follow Dr. Henry Cloud on:   Facebook   Twitter  Website

John Townsend

Dr. John Townsend is a psychologist, popular speaker, and cohost of the nationally broadcast New Life Live! radio program, and a cofounder of Cloud-Townsend clinic and Cloud-Townsend Resources. He is coauthor of the bestselling Boundaries and author of Boundaries with Teens and Hiding from Love.

Follow John Townsend on:   Facebook   Twitter  Website

Bill Donahue

Dr. Bill Donahue is the author of the bestselling Leading Life-Changing Small Groups, Building a Life-Changing Small Groups Ministy (with Russ Robinson), Coaching Life-Changing Leaders (with Greg Bowman), and the Equipping Life-Changing Small Groups DVD.

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