One of the things I am often asked, is how to deal with conflict or how to keep conflict from escalating in church. One of my favorite tools for working to create and cultivate an atmosphere that is conducive to practicing grace and truth is a document called The Covenant for Working and Worshiping Together. While this was designed to be used in meetings at church, it really can be used anywhere. The Covenant consists of nine biblically based statements that are designed to let people say what they need to say, be heard, and be responded to in a healthy loving way. In the church where I first came across it, it was read at the beginning of every meeting. Everyone also had a copy of it at every meeting. If someone saw that the Covenant was not being followed, they would say something like, “Wait a minute/Stop/Point of order, I don’t think that is following the Covenant.” It really helped people learn how to conduct themselves in truth and respond in grace. I like it so much that I have decided to share it with you. Feel free to copy it and use it at your church and in your home. I’d love to hear what you think, and how it works for you.
The Covenant For Working and Worshipping Together
- We will be as honest as we can with each other.
- We will speak to one another with respect.
- We will all be responsible for the successful implementation of any action we decide to take.
- We will communicate directly with each other using the first person, “I.”
- We will recognize merit in another person’s idea before we note its weakness.
- We will listen to understand but don’t necessarily have to agree.
- We will repeat what the other has said to confirm that we have understood them, and ask them to do the same if we feel we have not been understood.
- We will not jump to conclusions.
- We will deal only with directly observable data, not rumors, and seek to understand all sides.