Why This Study on Leadership?
Leadership and Conflict: Interwoven Threads
In every sphere of life—home, work, family, and especially the church—leadership really matters. As we all know, leadership is hard, but it is perhaps most challenging in those moments where leadership and conflict intersect. If you’re a leader, you often sit at the center of conflict—those times when tension surfaces in a leaders’ meeting, when you are managing a difficult change, or when the angry couple is sitting in your office.
And leaders don’t just see other people’s conflicts—at some time or other, every leader has inadvertently caused a conflict through an unpopular decision, poor communication, or even one careless word. Even in the healthiest churches, conflict and leadership are interwoven threads.
The Leader’s Response
When conflict threatens to shake the foundations of your church, wise leadership can hold your church together, creating a solid structure that can withstand the forces of damaging conflict. However, all too often, leaders default to worldly solutions by avoiding or attacking, and they end up standing by as the building crumbles. Compounding this problem is the recent unhealthy infiltration of corporate thinking into church leadership—the “results over relationships” approach may sound good, but it actually adds to the damage.
Conflict provides an opportunity for the church leader to respond in a way that is markedly different—living out the gospel of Jesus Christ in those critical moments when conflict and leadership intersect.
A Biblical Alternative
While many worthwhile resources on leadership exist, The Leadership Opportunity stands alone in addressing this distinct area of conflict and leadership. Based on over 25 years of work with churches and church leaders and as part of a larger family of resources for churches, The Leadership Opportunity is a solidly biblical resource, providing highly practical help for the common conflicts that all leaders face. It was created by church leaders for church leaders, and it will help any church lay the solid foundation of leadership needed in order to build a culture of peace.
Hard questions this study answers:
- Why is applying the gospel the key to leadership and conflict?
- How do leadership styles create conflict?
- Why is the Bible’s image of “shepherds after my own heart” so critical to understanding biblical leadership and peacemaking?
- Why is a unified leadership team so important, and how do you build one?
- How do you lead your church through difficult changes?
- How do you handle those difficult situations and meetings where conflict is flaring up right in front of you?
- What are the key skills needed to help church members who are in a conflict?
- How do you encourage church membership and follow a redemptive approach to church discipline?
- What risk management policies and practices should all churches implement?
Who Is This Resource For?
This resource is aimed at the core leadership team of a church. While this looks different for different churches, you will know exactly who that means for your church setting. It most definitely means pastoral staff and governing leaders, but you may also want to include small group leaders and other ministry leaders as well.
How Will You Use This Resource?
The study centers on fourteen DVD-based lessons (most churches will choose 8-10 to study) along with a detailed study guide. Each lesson takes about an hour (depending on discussion), so there are several study format options:
- A weekend leadership retreat
- 2-3 Saturday mornings
- One lesson at a time, either weekly or at your regular leadership meeting
Obviously, there are many variants to these approaches. The approach your church takes is completely up to you—the study is flexible, and you should decide how it will work best for your church leadership team.
What Topics Does The Study Cover?
The Leadership Opportunity includes four core sessions unpacking the heart and role of a peacemaking leader and eight application sessions designed to address real life situations where leadership and conflict seem to intersect.
Core Sessions (recommended for all leaders)
SESSION 1: True Leaders Must Be Peacemakers – Learning to Prevent and Fight the Fires of Conflict
Watch Session 1 now
SESSIONS 2 & 3: The Shepherd Leader – Understanding Peacemaking through Scripture’s Central Image of Leadership
SESSION 4: Building a Culture of Peace in Your Church – A Vision and Practical Strategy
Application Sessions (choose which of these to study)
SESSION 5: Building a Unified Church Leadership Team – The “Why” and “How” of United Church Leadership Teams
SESSIONS 6 & 7: Leading Through Change without Dividing the Flock
Part 1 – A Biblical Alternative to Secular Thinking
Part 2 – Biblical Theology and Practical Guidance
SESSIONS 8-10: Always a Peacemaker – Practical Skills for the Peacemaking Leader
Part 1 – Coaching (guiding an individual through conflict)
Part 2 – Mediation (helping two or more to be reconciled)
Part 3 – Negotiation of difficult issues
SESSIONS 11 & 12: Mutual Accountability in the Body of Christ
Part 1 – A Vision for Redemptive Discipline as God’s Gift and Blessing to the Church
Part 2 – Using Membership Commitments to Enable Faithful Ministry
APPENDIX A: An Overview of Biblical Peacemaking
APPENDIX B: An Introduction to Risk Management (including a valuable set of model forms and other documents to help your church implement biblical policies in the areas of membership, discipline, and legal risk management)
What’s included in the set?
- DVD Set – 4 DVDs containing 14 video teaching sessions (each about 30 minutes long)
- Study Guides (5) – The 152-page Study Guide is a complete companion to the DVD sessions, and all participants need one for their personal use and note-taking. The set includes five guides, so if your group is larger, be sure to order more.
- While Shepherds Watch Their Flocks devotional book – One important theme in this study is the need for shepherd leadership (see sessions 2 & 3). This 40-day devotional book provides an excellent companion to the study, allowing you to dig deeper into this rich biblical image. We encourage you to provide copies for your entire group.
- Leader’s Guide – This short booklet explains how the study works and gives some helpful tips on how to lead your group effectively.
- Supplemental Materials binder (with CD) – These materials contain model forms and other documents to help your church develop and implement membership, discipline, and risk management policies that are consistent with the teaching in this study.
- Peacemaking Principles pamphlets (10) – These pamphlets are summaries of the basic principles of biblical peacemaking.
- Quick Start Guide – An overview of the materials in the resource and a helpful guide to choosing the sessions you’ll study.