We all go into adult small group conversations hoping to learn from each other – and avoid conflict as much as possible. But participation in a small group grounded in faith and trust is a setting where difficult conversations can happen – and have adults learn from each other. Here are five things to keep in mind:
We often get caught up in our emotions and fall into what we often do best: worry. Difficult conversations with people you care about is never easy. It’s when and why we need the best guidance and wisdom to approach heated subjects that might hurt feelings. Going to God first is a great way to start conflict resolution.
Prepare your heart
Before approaching someone about a difficult topic, prepare your heart by reading the Bible. A scripture passage such as Psalm 139 (The Inescapable God) reminds us of God’s presence and knowledge. God know all about us, intimately and completely. There is no place, time, or situation that can separate us from God – including difficult conversations.. Mark and revisit Bible texts that touch your heart to help you prepare as you face different, and difficult, situations.
Ask for help
We all have friends who may tell us what we want to hear – even if it may not be what they really think. And, there’s hopefully at least one friend who will tell us what we might need to hear even if it stings. Ask for help from people you trust and discern what you hear. Listen to understand and prepare for your difficult conversation.
Work for resolution
It’s one thing to say, “I’m sorry” but another to say, “I was wrong.” What if you really feel like you’re not wrong? This is when conflict resolution can get sticky and confusing, and when people may resist continuing the conversation so conflict doesn’t stir up. But this isn’t always a healthy way to approach people. Be willing to role model how to work for resolution – even if it might take more than one conversation to come to closure.
Focus on your language
Leaders and participants share ownership and responsibility in a small group. To enhance communication skills in any discussion, there is such thing as the right language. It is possible to have honest, trusting conversations, even when people disagree. We are all God’s people growing in our faith.
Interested in learning more? Click here to watch an on-demand webinar to learn more about managing and diffusing conflict in your small groups.