1. How did you reach this decision?
This was a difficult decision. Due to mitigating circumstances, the Institute for Christian Conciliation (ICC) could not operate under its standard business model for three years from 2012-2015. This impacted the work of the ICC and the organization. Peacemaker Ministries (PM) planned to restore the ICC practice and develop the organization, but ultimately determined that we are not best positioned to serve those involved through ample marketing, training or events. The PM Board and CEO, Dale Pyne, considered this for many months over several board meetings. We received input from a broad spectrum of conciliators during this process, and sought counsel from prior Board members and other advisors. Most importantly, we prayed extensively and sought direction from God, the ultimate owner of PM and the ICC.
2. Isn’t the ICC integral to Peacemaker Ministries? What will be left of the organization?
In the future, PM will focus on educating and equipping the broader church about biblical peacemaking through its legacy products and newer materials. This directly advances the mission of Peacemaker Ministries. The ICC can be an integral partner, receiving referrals from PM for case work that goes beyond the work of PM.
3. What will PM do if it cannot find someone to take over the ICC?
We believe that God has a future home for the ICC; based on early inquiries it seems very likely that we will find a highly qualified steward. If, however, we believe that God reveals to us during this process that the ICC is to remain with PM, we will retain the ICC.
4. Would you reconsider if you had a partner in creating a sustainable business model for ICC?
This action is both for the benefit of the ICC and for the benefit of Peacemaker Ministries. The Board believes God has revealed that the focus of PM should be education and marketing. Financial needs are part of this decision, but the primary reason is to free the ICC to flourish while allowing PM to focus.
5. Is PM seeking to sell the ICC as an asset or to “hand off” the ICC as in a relay race?
The relay race analogy is fitting. PM is not seeking to sell the ICC. The ICC will require significant investment; therefore, the financial standing and business plan of any potential steward is highly important. Our goal is to find the situation that best positions the ICC for future growth and kingdom impact.
6. What are you looking for in the new “parent”? What theological parameters are non-negotiable?
PM expects the new steward of the ICC to operate the ICC with a very similar if not identical theological perspective and statement of faith. We seek a steward who understands the history and importance of the ICC and who has a strong vision for what the ICC can be. In addition, the steward must have the appropriate expertise and resources to be able to serve the community of conciliators. Finally, the steward must demonstrate an understanding of how to develop the ICC so that it has greater reach and impact.
7. Is there any new parent who would not be considered — for example, a denomination?
We are making every effort to go into this process with an open mind. However, we seek a home where the ICC can have the greatest impact, so we do not expect that it would be focused on a single denomination.
8. Can you estimate the annual cost to keep the ICC financially viable?
Over the two-year period of 2014-15, Peacemaker Ministries subsidized ICC operations with over $90,000. The annual cost depends on how shared costs are allocated and the volume of cases. We will share additional information about cases, costs, salaries, etc. with potential stewards. We believe the ICC can be sustainable with the right marketing and business model; that will be a key area of discussion with the potential steward.
9. Can you address the financial viability of PM both currently and after handing off the ICC?
Peacemaker Ministries continues to operate with a minimal staff, and continues to depend on God’s financial provision through donors. The ICC transition will lead to a meaningful reduction in PM operational costs.
10. What role will PM play in marketing ICC Certification and case admin with the new leader of ICC?
Our plan is to offer full support and referrals to those stewarding the ICC. We firmly believe that lack of awareness about biblical peacemaking has held back Christian Conciliation and the ICC. As PM focuses on awareness and basic education, we believe that the demand for conciliation will increase.
11. What will happen to Peacemaker University and certification during this transition?
The programs will continue as is during this process.
12. What will the annual conference look like?
PM announced last fall that we would conduct regional training in the fall of 2016 instead of a fall conference, following a course that Dale Pyne first shared during the 2013 fall conference. Scheduled training sessions in September 2016 include Conflict Coaching, Mediation, The Path of a Peacemaker Seminar, and Path of a Peacemaker Facilitator Training. Please see the PM website for more information and updates on future conferences.
13. Will you ensure that the organization that acquires ICC continues with the methods/teaching and processes that we have been using as trained conciliators?
Part of our due diligence in selecting a steward will be to understand their approach, methods, and teaching philosophy. Our expectation is that the future steward will continue methods and processes that work well, and will look for improvement where it is helpful.
14. Should I continue in the Certification program? Will PM refund money to people who have recently enrolled in training or renewed their certification if they want to withdraw from the ICC?
The purpose for pursuing a better steward for the ICC is to improve training, certification and services. We believe the certification process and credential will have significantly greater value upon the completion of this transition. If PM or the future steward of the ICC cannot fulfill its commitment to candidates who began certification in 2016, a refund will be granted upon request.
15. Will training be based on Path of Peacemaker materials or the original materials? Will the new ICC be required to incorporate this material?
PM will base much of its future training on The Path of a Peacemaker. It is hoped that the new ICC steward will also make use of The Path, but that organization will not be required to do so.
16. Do you think it is reasonable that the ICC will continue to have a place for pastors and others who provide conciliation as a ministry and not for a fee?
Yes; the ICC long ago recognized that Christian conciliation extends beyond attorneys and fee-based cases. The training and certification requirements have shifted over the years to reflect this. We fully expect that the next steward for the ICC will support Christian conciliation as a ministry in the church.
17. Do you think ICC could associate its activities with organizations that perform similar services?
That is possible, and we are open to that consideration as we evaluate potential stewards.
18. Will the ICC still accept cases?
Yes. Our plan is to transfer the ICC intact, so that case administration would continue without interruption.
19. What will happen to contracts that have a conciliation clause referring any conflicts to the ICC?
Cases involving contracts that require that parties resolve their conflicts through the ICC will continue to be administered through the ICC. It will be essential for the ICC to continue to provide this service.
20. As an attorney, I’ve recommended that my clients include the ICC conciliation clause in their contracts with other Christian businesses and individuals. Should I stop doing so, since the future of the ICC is uncertain?
The ICC’s conciliation clause simply requires parties to use the ICC’s Rules of Procedure in the event of a conflict. Recommending this clause is a wise way for attorneys to assist Christian clients to obey the biblical mandate in I Corinthians 6:1-7.
21. What will happen to the Rules of Procedure for Christian Conciliation?
The Rules of Procedure are part of the ICC, and will transfer to the new owner of the ICC.
22. Will the advanced conciliator training still be offered?
The Certification training course will transfer with the rest of the ICC to the new owner. The other advanced training programs (Reconciling Marital Conflicts, Reconciling Church Conflicts) will probably transfer with the ICC. It has not yet been determined who will oversee the Conflict Coaching and Mediation training courses.