|Peacemaking Church Resource Set
A comprehensive approach to building a Culture of Peace—a great way for churches to get started with peacemaking. $199.00 more info
|Upcoming Event Schedule:
• March 6-8, Bozeman, MT – Conflict Coaching & Mediation• March 6-8, Turlock, CA – Conflict Coaching & Mediation
• March 13-15, Zimmerman, MN – Conflict Coaching & Mediation
• March 27-29, Ripley, WV –Conflict Coaching & Mediation
• April 4-5, Sacramento, CA – Peacemaker Seminar
• April 5, Greensburg, IN – Peacemaker Seminar
• April 10-12, Salem, OR – Conflict Coaching & Mediation
• April 18-19, Dallas, TX – Mediation Only
• April 24-26, St. Louis, MO – Conflict Coaching & Mediation• May 29-31, Sacramento, CA – Conflict Coaching and Mediation
• Pre-Conference Events
** September 23-25, 2008 – Conflict Coaching & Mediation
** September 23-25, 2008 – Reconciling Church Conflict
** September 23-25, 2008 – Teaching Peacemaking Cross-Culturally
** September 24-25, 2008 – Reconciling Marital ConflictMore information, registration, or complete listing of upcoming events
Asking for Correction
By Ken Sande, President of Peacemaker Ministries
Would you like to experience significant character growth? One way to do this is to ask people you trust to point out your shortcomings. This is risky business, but it is worth the effort.All of us have areas of weakness and needed growth. These weaknesses are often pointed out to us in the midst of conflict. Unfortunately, at such times we are usually defensive and do not listen well to correction, even when there is truth in it. As a result, we often ignore valid criticism and fail to benefit from it.
One way to get around this roadblock is to ask for correction before conflict arises. Seeking and being open to correction is highly commended in Scripture. The Psalmist declares, “Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it” (Ps. 141:5). And according to Proverbs 27:6, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”
I first discovered the truth of these passages years ago when two friends and I met each week. We agreed to prayerfully point out three characteristics in one another that seemed to offend others or diminish our witness for Christ. To my surprise, my friends came up with two identical criticisms. This was both convicting and embarrassing! But God used their correction to help me face behavior and attitudes that were undermining my friendships, ministry, and even my marriage. I will always be grateful for their loving feedback.
Since character growth is a lifelong challenge, I am going through this process again by asking my family and a few friends and coworkers for their loving correction. Realizing that lasting change comes only as God works in my heart, I am digging deeper this time. I am asking these people to help me identify the desires of my heart that give rise to ungodly behavior, and to pray for me as I seek God’s help for change.
I have developed two short letters that ask seven questions. The answers will help me see myself more clearly. One letter is for family and friends, and the other is for co-workers. The questions include the following:
Please describe three character qualities, behaviors, or attitudes in me that have disappointed, annoyed, or offended you or others, or seemed to undermine my witness for Christ. Give specific examples, if possible.
What things have you seen me make idols out of? (An idol is any desire—even for good things—that I have elevated to a demand, become excessively preoccupied with, looked to for security, had to have in order to be content, or allowed to control me.)
If there were just one change God would bring about in me in the next six months, what would you pray it would be?
A young man I am mentoring is already using these letters to seek insights into how he needs to change. You and your church are also welcome to use or modify them as you seek to grow in character this year. Copies may be downloaded from the Peacemaker Ministries website.
May God grant all of us the desire to mature in faith and character, the wisdom to deliberately seek correction, and the faith to follow God wholeheartedly as he steadily conforms us to the likeness of his Son.
2008 Peacemaker Conference
Does winter seem to be dragging on a little long for you? Dreaming of warmer days? Well then, think WARM and begin planning for a trip to Orlando for the 2008 Peacemaker Conference. The 2008 Conference promises to be another great event, centering on the theme, “The Power of a Peacemaking Church.” The featured speakers each have a contagious passion for Christ and the peace he brings, including Peacemaker Ministries’ president Ken Sande, pastor and author Thabiti Anyabwile, seminary leader and missions authority Dr. Peter Kuzmic, and pastor John Stumbo. Mark your calendar and join us in Orlando, Florida on September 25-27 for the peacemaking event of the year! Register before March 31 for a reduced price. Bring a group and save even more—for every four people you bring, the fifth is free!
One of the key concepts in the Peacemaking Church materials is the peacemaking team. A peacemaking team is a group of mature Christians who sense God’s call on their lives to help their church on its journey toward developing a true culture of peace. In nearly every church where peacemaking has taken root and had a long-term impact on that church, there’s a group of people that stands behind the effort. They are the ones who “own” it, and they are the ones with the passion for maintaining it. Without a team in place, peacemaking will tend to fizzle and fade within a church.
If your church already has an existing peacemaking team, that’s great! Feel free to make use of the specific tools contained in the Peacemaking Team materials (and don’t forget to register your team!). But if your church does not have a team, take a look at the Peacemaking Church Resource Set—the creation of a peacemaking team is a key outcome of this comprehensive effort to bring peacemaking into your church and keep it going. For much more information on inspiring, teaching, and embedding peacemaking in your church, visit the Peacemaking Church section of the website.
Testimony of the Month
If we are eager to confront someone, that is usually a sign that we should NOT do it. But sometimes God lays it on our hearts to gently go to our brother or sister, even when that’s the LAST thing we want to do. Yet he provides the grace to do it despite our fears and discomfort. Read the following testimony to discover how this wonderful truth is demonstrated.
“My long-time friend and sister in the Lord invited me to participate in the Peacemaker Bible study that she was teaching at our church. I agreed, and we began to explore the riches that Scripture had to offer on the topic of peacemaking. The deeper we went into the study the more I realized something was not right. I realized that all but one of us had unresolved conflict that we were not dealing with. We were talking a great deal about it, but it had not impacted our lives to the point that any one of us was willing to actually do anything about it. I was terrified to lovingly confront our sin, but God made it impossible for me to continue unless I was willing to put ’feet’ to the lessons I was learning each week. When I could bear it no longer, I earnestly prayed and asked God to help me walk through the intense fear.
“I was sure my knees would give way as I walked into our Bible study that morning. I sat down, mouth parched, and my pulse racing uncontrollably. I poured out my heart to my sisters and confessed to my close friend and teacher that something had happened many years earlier that had come between us. The response that I received from each of them so surprised me that I knew it was the amazing work that the Holy Spirit was doing in each of our lives! I was able to express myself in a way that I had not previously been able to do. My long time friend and I were able to glorify God, get the logs out of our eyes, be reconciled and were gently restored to our former relationship! I can’t begin to describe the burden that has been lifted from me since then. I have also been able to reconcile another ’old wound’ that was allowed to fester for 13 years with the same result: another reconciled relationship!”