This is part of a series of posts aimed at supporting and encouraging the volunteers of Lafayette Community Church.
Our past two Sunday gatherings have been truly refreshing to me. For one thing, Jake Steffes has been selecting our music, and he has done a great job of not only picking songs that resonate with the theme but also ordering them in a way that encourages us on Sundays to release ourselves into God’s presence. His work has taken a load off of my mind and has given our band more time to prepare!
Additionally, the past two messages I gave were really the reason I wanted to do our series on conflict in the first place. It was the lesson in the book that I translated into our “H” principle that convinced me there was a new way to think about conflict and difficult conversations that would help our church. Then, it was the “T” principle from this past week that I have been trying to tell people about for over a decade now, but wasn’t able to pull it all together in a really coherent way until this past Sunday.
November 4 Message
Since I need to cover two weeks in this letter, I’ll be brief with each. First of all, the “H” principle we learned on the 4th is that in any crucial conversation, we need to “Handle with care.”
It comes from the idea that humans are fragile. Each of us has the ability to be wounded and we know it, so it is in those moments where our fragility is threatened that we react with displays of strength and initiative. For some of us, we show our strength by running away first and fast. Our strength is displayed in our ability to protect ourselves. For others of us, we show our strength by stepping into the conflict, raising our voices, flexing our muscles, and preparing for attack. This is basic biology of the fight or flight response; however, if we turn the tables and think not of ourselves but of other people, there is an astonishing realization that comes to us. Other people resort to silence or violence only when they no longer feel safe.
In other words, I can prevent another person’s silence, deception, or avoidance by helping them feel safe. Additionally, I can prevent another person’s violence and aggression by helping them feel safe.
I concluded the message by sharing some practical ways that you and I can help ourselves feel safe before and during a difficult conversation along with a well-researched recipe for helping other people feel safe in any conversation.
November 11 Message
I don’t know if you could tell, but my message for this past week was very late in coming. I had been thinking about it for weeks of course, and I had wrestled with how to communicate it all week long last week, but I didn’t really have it all come together for me until Saturday. However, I think when it came together for me, it really came together for me. I had known for a long time that the “T” principle needed to be “Take Ownership” so that I could encourage people that conflict isn’t really resolved until we each own our part in the conflict and our part in the future. Conflict resolution requires decisions to be made and then upheld. But I couldn’t find any real biblical stories or examples of conflict resolution that goes well. There’s David and Abigail, there’s Paul and Barnabas, and there are a few other conflict resolution stories that are sprinkled around, but none of them directly teach the principle of how each party takes ownership in the situation.
And then it hit me. On Saturday. I was missing the greatest story of conflict resolution in the entire Bible. It’s the story of the Bible itself. It’s the story of God and us, a remarkable story of how God takes total ownership of the conflict resolution process in a one-sided effort to open the door to us being reconciled to him. It’s a beautiful picture of the way our own conflict resolution process should work, and it’s a very big challenge. I did my best to present that story in light of our own need to be “one-sided” in our conflict resolution efforts. We concluded with this amazing verse from Proverbs 16:7.
When the LORD takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them. — Proverbs 16:7
I know it must have clicked well because when I got home Sunday afternoon, Jen told me the message seemed “more put together” than my other recent ones!
We have had some remarkable comments on our connect cards the past couple of weeks. God is really working in people’s lives, and I’m so glad you and I get to be a part of what He’s doing.
- Holy Spirit is at work today. I was mapping out my plan to seek forgiveness today from my boyfriend. I needed today’s message. Thank you Lord, you know what I need at all times!
- This is a super cool & useful message. I tend to avoid conflicts for the fear of step 1 happening in either of the parties. I’m going to put these 6 steps firmly in my mind so I can approach conflicts with more confidence.
- Yup, I have been so broken! I realized when I first began as a member of this church, due to being so fragile, I almost let that prevent me to continue to seek Jesus. The Band Rocks!!!
- I feel so blessed to be a part of this congregation each Sunday. I find myself looking forward to Sundays so that I can be a part of this worship. I feel God filling the voids I have in my life and in my heart.
- This series has been great. I deal w/ more conflict at work but I still need to apply this. I need to learn to think before I speak and listen to them as well.
- This series has been terrific!! It has helped me to sit back and look at things and approach people differently.
- Powerful message/series. By implementing the above steps. I realize today that during a phone call this past week. I was able to speak about and encourage a person to seek Jesus & start the healing process instead of the road to anger they were on. Thank you. Inspecting myself has been interesting.
- By using last weeks principles I was able to regain the love of my life! Thanks!!!
- Really enjoyed and learned a lot from this series! Thank you! 🙂
- Working very hard this week on conflict with my sister, Thanks so much for my small group helping me work better on my issues.
- Own. I’m working on owning it. So much I’ve said it was the other person’s fault. Never did I once lift them up. Mercy. Show others mercy.
- Awesome music today! I need to take ownership of some of the conflicts I am having at work. I need to stop the blame on others and I realize that I need to begin the process of reconciliation. I will own this process!!
- Great message, I have experienced some conflict at work and need freedom from my own conflict. This gives me the tools to work on it.
- Today’s message has given me the tools to help me with a friend I’ve had conflict with and with God’s help I will handle it myself better. Thank you God.
- I need to take “ownership” in conflict! I need to dig deep into my own standards that are way too high. God’s mercy I also want to extend mercy to others!
- Just wanted to tell you how great the band sounded this morning. It really made me sing out and praise Jesus. This F.I.G.H.T. series has been a real eye opener for me. It made me look at myself and think about the way I react to other people’s feelings. I really got a lot of out of it. Can’t wait for the next series to start.
- Great message. I am new today. Love the welcome feeling.
And my favorite of the day from November 11:
- I want to take ownership of my life and reconcile with Jesus.
Thank you again for being such a major part in this transforming work. God is changing people’s lives for the better, and your work is laying the foundation for that to happen!
What are we looking toward in the next few weeks? What is God moving us toward in the next few months? Here are a few things.
The Do List
Photo Directory is finally coming
If you haven’t connected with Alicia Allen of Justified Studio here in Lafayette, click the link, visit her website, and give her a call to set up an appointment for your family photo. We will start posting family photos to a private place on our website and will be giving you access to it once it’s ready.
The Dream List
These are things that are on my radar for the coming few months. You’re just listening in to my haphazard thoughts. Some of these things are high priority and some aren’t, but I’m putting them here because I want to be in conversation with you about them.
I’m dreaming of…
- A 2013 Budget that faithfully steward’s God’s provision and allocates resources for refreshing ministry, strategic staffing, and the acquisition of a future permanent location.
- An associate pastor who can handle Coaching, Life Groups, Worship Programming, or some combination of them.
- A baptism service in a public venue that uses the visible expression of baptism to expose the mystery of spiritual rebirth to unbelievers.
- An astonishingly awesome Christmas season propelling us toward our February Commitment Service.
- An army of coaches who will own the process of “helping people discover life in Christ.”
- A church that increasingly does both verbs in our mission statement: Helping people find life in Christ.
Coaching in 20 minutes or less
I’ve been going through this coaching material with a number of people recently, and it seems to be making quite a difference in people’s lives. In fact, I’ve realized that it’s the kind of thing that can be done really effectively even with short coaching meetings. If you want to be coached, but you don’t think you have the time for it, let me know. We can work something out where we can do a coaching appointment in just 20 minutes over the phone or by Skype.
I’m making myself available to you especially because as leaders and helpers in the ministries of LCC, you are on the front lines and I want you to know you are supported.
Finally, I want to remind you of our “beta” online prayer request board. It’s found at http://lafayettecc.org/members. You’ll need an account to log in, and if you aren’t part of our Prayer Team, you’ll only be able to see the public requests and your own requests. Let me know if you have suggestions for how it should work or if you’d like to join our Prayer Team.