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Speed Leas, co-author of Mastering Conflict and Controversy, writes about a church that was mired in "dissension between the newcomers and long-time members." At an all-day meeting, the congregation drew up guidelines for how they would handle their conflict. Some of those guidelines:

  1. Conflict can be healthy and useful for our church. It is okay for people to differ with one another.

  2. Resolutions for the sake of quick agreement are often worse than agreements that are carefully worked out over time.

  3. Fair conflict management includes:
    1. dealing with one issue at a time;
    2. if more than one issue is presented, agreeing on the order in which the issues will be addressed;
    3. exploring all the dimensions of the problem(s);
    4. exploring alternative solutions to the problem(s).
  4. If any party is uncomfortable with the forum in which the conflict is raised, it is legitimate to request and discuss what the most appropriate forum might be.

  5. Inappropriate behavior in conflict includes, but is not limited to:
    1. name calling;
    2. mind reading (attributing evil motives to others);
    3. inducing guilt (e.g., "Look how you've made me feel");
    4. rejecting, deprecating, or discrediting another person;
    5. using information from confidential sources or indicating that such information exists.
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