Congregational Church Conflict

March 2, 2012    Workplace & Commercial Disputes - Mediation

Baltimore Mediation offers a transformative approach to congregational and church conflict. This approach is both client centered and organizationally oriented, recognizing the need for a healthy organization to function well within as well as with outside constituencies. The focus is to create opportunities within the system for one-on-one interactions as well as group interactions that foster a greater degree of satisfaction with the communication and, in turn, promote “upstream effects” for the whole which include confidence in the responsiveness of leadership, better communication, capacity to deal with divergent ideas and conflict more constructively, greater understanding and respect and greater productivity and cohesiveness for the future. Baltimore mediation works with two or more people in a mediation setting for a specific problem or disputes as well as facilitates large groups of hundreds of congregants with similar and divergent points of view. The goal in both situations is to foster the quality of the interaction and not muzzle differences of opinion but rather provide them a safe and meaningful forum which can further shape and inform quality decision making.

Example:  As tenured Music Director of the church, you have decided to move to a more contemporary form of worship in an effort to attract the younger congregation. The Priest is not only upset with your choice, but is threatening to remove you as Director.

Example: The Nomination Committee of your church has selected a new Rabbi. However this choice has been met with opposition from hundreds of congregants who are upset by the choice.

Example: Allegations of inappropriate conduct between a staff member and several congregants have surfaced within the church. For those who know, these allegations have brought division within the congregation. Many members are threatening to leave.

Example: The Parish Board of Directors is about to unveil a capital campaign and one Board member raises a concern that there may not be much support in the congregation because the congregations was neither consulted nor asked to be involved in shaping the goals of the campaign. The Board wants to move forward.

For clergy and church leaders (management), church and synagogue employees and congregants, the same skills can be learned via Baltimore Mediation training and used within the workplace called the church or synagogue. See TRAINING. The outcomes are similar: better and more satisfying working relationships, resolution of disputes and increased capacity to deal with future conflict constructively. Additionally, in church settings, removing the internal conflict barriers increases the potential for congregants and leadership to be more responsive to others in the world to the degree that conforms to the spiritual and cultural practice of each congregation.

The goals of a system and transformative approach to conflict are to introduce and have integrated within the system an understanding that conflict is a part of everyday interactions. To deal with conflict in a healthy direct way, while potentially uncomfortable for many, and seemingly un-Christian or un-Godlike, is a path for attaining not only a healthy sustainable working environment but also a meaningful and compassionate worshipping environment.

Baltimore Mediation mediators are professionals with extensive experience with church, Board of Directors, staff and congregational conflicts and disputes. They have backgrounds in law, human resources, counseling, finance, business management and theology. Baltimore Mediation mediators are experienced and specially trained in the art of conflict transformation. They know how to handle difficult situations involving groups and individuals. Some of Baltimore Mediation’s clients include Maryknoll Missionaries, Bolton Street Synagogue, Cathedral of Mary Our Queen Church, Zion Baptist Church, Knox Presbyterian Church, St. Francis Catholic Church, New Life Missionary Baptist Church, New Friendship Church, Beth Tfiloh Congregation, and First Apostolic Church.

Better Process….Better Outcome. For more information contact Baltimore Mediation 443-524-0833.