Managing Conflict from a Christian Perspective

by Emily Ralph,

Harleysville, PA–Pastors and conference leaders gathered at the Mennonite Conference Center for a resourcing time around managing conflict.  Rev. Dr. Barbara Moses, the principal of Philadelphia Mennonite High School, encouraged the leaders to take control of conflict situations in the only way possible: by controlling themselves.

Managing Conflict
Derek Cooper (left), Doylestown, looks on while Tami Good, Perkiomenville, and Drew Hart, pastor at Montco Bible Fellowship, work on Dr. Moses' exercise to write a commercial on conflict management.

“The only way to get the best of an argument is not to enter into it,” Dr. Moses told the group.  And entering into an argument includes more than just words, she said–it’s also about body language, tone of voice, and attitude.

Not all conflicts can be resolved, but they can be managed, according to Dr. Moses.  To manage them in a way that brings glory to God and benefits those involved, Dr. Moses suggests using the acronym S.A.F.E.R.: a silent tongue, attentive ear, faithful heart, edifying perspective, and respectful response.

And part of that response is to THINK first, she added.  This means making sure that your response is true, helpful, inspiring, necessary, and kind.

“Know your triggers,” Dr. Moses encouraged.  “A trigger is anything that sets you off.”  By identifying your triggers and taking responsibility for them, you can help others to communicate with you in healthy ways, she said.

Ever the educator, Dr. Moses ended her workshop with an interactive exercise in which groups of conference leaders worked on commercials to communicate some of the techniques they had learned.

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