What is a 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—a church environment where people are consistently expressing Christ’s love in their relationships with one another.
The team will vary from two or three to several dozen, depending on the size of the church.
The heart of each person on the team is primarily for the gospel: the truth that it is only because God first reconciled us to himself through Christ, that we can be reconciled to one another here on earth. Peacemaking teams have a heart for reconciliation and a particular love and care for those who are experiencing the pain of conflict. They are very aware that they are working with some of the most delicate matters in other people’s lives.
Close behind their heart for the gospel will be their heart to serve their church leaders and advance their leaders’ vision for the church. Peacemaking can be a powerful contributor to a church’s mission to live as Christ commands and to be a witness to a dying world.
A peacemaking team serves their church through two primary avenues:
- Teaching. The team helps to “embed” biblical peacemaking into the life of the church by ongoing teaching to new members classes, pre-married classes, mission teams, and anywhere else that it’s appropriate.
- Assisting. The peacemaking team will be skilled in assisting others who are in the midst of conflict and struggling to work through it in a God-glorifying way. Often this assistance will be as informal as casual input and advice to one individual over a cup of coffee. At other times, it might be more formal, working with several individuals together to help them be reconciled in a God-glorifying way.
Why a Peacemaking Team?
The best way to answer that question is through six Because’s:
Because of the Gospel. As you have seen repeated throughout Peacemaker Ministries’ materials, peacemaking is at the heart of the gospel. Unless God had chosen to make peace with us through the blood of his Son, there would be no peace with others…but because of the blood of his Son, we now can have peace with one another. Peacemaking teams help their churches live out that amazing truth, constantly pointing others to the hope of the gospel.
- Because there’s conflict in the church, and people need help with it. Ever since the earliest days of the church, conflict has been a near-constant in church life. As Paul points out in Philippians 4:2-3, even the godliest people can find themselves in a conflict that they need help to work through. Paul didn’t tell his friends to “just work it out;” he asked another dear friend in the church to help them work it out. Teams do the same – they help their brothers and sisters when they need help.
- Because people LEAK. Isn’t teaching peacemaking enough? No! While teaching is an essential step in changing a church’s culture, we all know that it doesn’t take long for that knowledge to leak out and fade away. People forget what they’ve heard; and new members come who haven’t heard it at all!
- Because God wants transformed lives. While it’s important to refresh teaching that has “leaked out,” there’s something even more important at stake. Peacemaking isn’t just about knowing a bunch of tools, skills, and acronyms(!): it’s a transformed way of life – people truly living out the gospel in their daily relationships. The wider role of the peacemaking team is to help people be transformed by the reconciling power of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection.
- Because God calls his children to serve their leaders and to advance their vision to build his church. Isn’t peacemaking the pastor’s job? No: as we see in Acts 6:1-7, in order for pastors to devote themselves to teaching and shepherding, other ministry responsibilities need to be shared among qualified and capable believers. Every member of the body must play a role in order for the church to grow and be fully effective in ministry.A peacemaking team will contribute powerfully to a church’s mission, vision and core values by promoting healthy relationships, spreading the gospel, and boosting community witness and church growth through the irresistible power of transformed lives. Be sure to discuss this aspect of the peacemaking ministry with your leaders.
- Because someone needs to “Guard the Flame.” While God certainly calls pastors to model peacemaking with their lives and to support it from the pulpit, it’s not reasonable to expect them to stay current with all the skills, tools, and “best practices” needed to run an effective reconciliation ministry. It is the role of the team to become the peacemaking “center of excellence” and, as Peacemaker Ministries centrally supports church-based ministries, the team is the natural home for that support.
The Peacemaking Team Manual
The core resource in the Team materials is the Peacemaking Team Manual. The manual is an easy-to-use and comprehensive handbook to help you establish and sustain a peacemaking ministry in your church. It will walk you through getting started, establishing your ministry, teaching peacemaking, helping those in conflict, and obtaining ongoing support. To give you a sense of the practical and valuable information contained in it, we’ve listed the Table of Contents here.
Table of Contents
1. What is a Peacemaking Team?
2. Why a Peacemaking Team?
3. How to Use This Manual
4. Getting Started: The First 100 Days (More or Less)
5. Who Will You Need on Your Team?
6. How to Register Your Team
7. How to Serve and Work With Your Church Leaders
8. Teaching Peacemaking Principles in Your Church
9. What Kind of Conflicts Will You See?
10. Your Responsibilities When Helping People in Conflict
11. How to Coach
12. Introduction to Mediation
13. Get Trained!
14. How to Know When You’re In Over Your Head
15. How to Promote Your Peacemaking Team to the Church
RUNNING YOUR MINISTRY:
16. How Peacemaker Ministries Will Support Your Team
17. How to Network with Other Church Teams and Local Certified Christian Conciliators
18. Managing and Leading Your Team
19. Common Mistakes Peacemaking Teams Make
Appendix A: Sample Ministry Plan
Appendix B: Sample Confidentiality Form
Appendix C: Sample Record-Keeping Form
Appendix D: Sample Intake Form
Appendix E: Sample Evaluation Form
Appendix F: Learning to Coach from Observation Worksheet: Suggested Answers
Appendix G: Biblical Foundations for Your Peacemaking Team: Teaching Outline and Discussion Questions
Appendix H: Sample Promotional Materials
You can download the Peacemaking Team Manual and other FREE materials that will be helpful to you as you start a team in the Team Starter Kit. Please create a login and password in the right hand column or sign in if you have a PMU account.
Questions or comments about Peacemaking Teams? Drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.