This project topic “Conflict Management among Christians” treats causes of conflict, effects of conflict, styles of conflict management, how conflict is resolved biblically and through Christian conciliation. The research project was on the bases that the Church or society at large cannot do without conflict. It is worst when people deny the fact that there is a conflict or simply ignoring it, or give in to the wishes of the other person in order to preserve the relationship. More problems arise when an agreement between two parties can be made verbally, but in the heart conflict still continues, which may lead to the killing of one party or opponent. The findings revealed that it is difficult to resolve conflict except with God’s intervention. It would be proper then for any Christian leader to start facing a serious organizational crisis with a sense of helplessness and turn to God as what Moses usually did when the Israelites rebelled. Pastors and Christian leaders should always recognize the headship of Christ in all matters and remember that the things that bind the Christians together are far more valuable than our seemingly ‘important concerns’. One should not be afraid of conflict but welcome it as an opportunity for the glory of God to shine in the midst of confusion. The research method adopted in this project is reading. It was recommended that the people concerned should be advised to read the Bible portions that deal with conflict resolution, leave room for God, learn how to forgive one another and anyone that is involved in the conflict should try and guide his lips.
1.1 Background of the Study
Conflict proved to be the most dynamic experience in an organization in the sense that the group would either be destroyed or grows stronger. In either way, the organization never stays the same. Christian leaders many times failed to take advantage of the opportunity brought about by the conflict situation. Many churches have been ruined and Christian organizations became a stumbling block to unbelievers because its leaders failed to manage conflict situations properly. The need for Christian leaders to acquire better skills in resolving organizational conflicts now becomes apparent in the light of all the mess. According to Inwang (2012), one cannot escape tensions by trying to run away from them. There will always be areas of conflict as long as we live in the world of sinners.
Every day we listen to the news, it seems that there is always a new case of conflict in the world. Whether it is between nations, races, or even religion is often rooted in hatred. Hatred causes conflict to occur. It may be difficult to solve hatred, but we can use the unconditional love of Christ as a response to a hateful person. Dixon (2009) opines that there are, of course, barriers to this progress. We have to recognize that a process of reconciliation does not achieve result overnight
The truth is, we are going to have conflict whether we like it or not. It is a part of life that we can’t control in full. The key to dealing with conflict is to follow God’s word and respond obediently. It may be easier said than done, but we must not lose faith. If the conflict is ignored there is a strong chance that it will continue. There are so many different ways conflict can because of one’s life and the world. It can be stirred up by a hot-tempered heart, a greedy heart, a hated heart, or even an angry heart.
Conflict Management Among Christians In Churches
This project may help the reader to have a clearer perspective in conflict processes surrounding most Christian organizations today, thereby allowing him to adjust and choose the proper course of action in certain conflict situations. This involves having a good understanding of the Biblical principles at work during times of discord. If you happen to see conflict and feel that you can help solve it, try your best to do so. The key to stopping conflict is to deal with it and trust in God.
1.2 Statement of Problem
Conflict is a situation where one finds himself or herself in opposition. Be it individual conflict or group conflict, it is a problem that is difficult to deal with. The church or society at large cannot do without conflict. Conflict is worst when people deny the fact that there is a conflict or simply ignoring it, or gives in to the wishes of the other person in order to preserve the relationship. More problems arise when there is the imposition of a solution that may require aggressiveness, threats or unwillingness to cooperate.
Agreement between two parties can be made verbally, but in the heart conflict still continues, which may lead to the killing of one party or opponent. It is difficult to resolve conflict except with God’s intervention.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of writing on this project topic is to help the reader to have a clearer perspective in conflict processes surrounding must Christian organization, thereby allowing him or her to adjust and choose the proper course of action in certain conflict situations.
i. To help Christian leaders to have a better way of resolving conflicts.
ii. To help people to follow God’s word and respond obediently in dealing with conflict situations.
iii. To help people understand that God can use a pressure of conflict to further his purpose for our own good.
iv. To help people deal with conflict situations and not ignore them.
v. To help people to glorify God in conflict rather than causing further confusion.
1.4 Significance of the Study
This project is the researcher’s effort in making conflict resolution achievable among Christians, and a way of promoting peace in the church.
It makes it possible for the conflict to be resolved between the parties concerned only or through a third party as the scripture advises in Matthew 18:16 or through the church that will employ counseling, mediation or arbitration.
1.5 Scope of the Study
This project deals with the scope of conflict management among Christians. It discusses causes of conflict in three ways which include: lust for the things of the world, being in friendship with the world and lack of continuous prayer and Bible study.
Understanding in managing conflict is considered very important because conflict destroys faith and blights the Christian witness in the community. Some churches with a great history of evangelism and growth have been torn apart by dissension and factions and are now only a shadow of what they used to be. The effect of conflict in the church is seriously felt when people are not working together and this had wrecked churches and homes.
This project topic also discusses some steps to resolve conflict biblically and resolving conflict through Christian conciliation.
1.6 Limitations of the Study
1. The time factor has been the major constraint in the execution of this project due to my commitment to the church as a pastor.
2. Inadequate finance has also affected the number of books purchased.
3. Inability to get many books that treat the topic.
1.7 Research Methodology
The research method adopted in this project is reading of the Bible, textbooks, Bible guides and handbooks.
1.8 Definition of Terms
Conflict: Mode, Oluwabamide, Akpan and Ekpa (2006) opines that there is absolutely no agreement among scholars on the concept of conflict even though there is no disagreement on its manifestation and impact on the society. Coser (1967) views conflict as a process and therefore regards it as a struggle over values and claims to scarce status, power, and resources in which the aims of the opponent are to neutralize, injure or eliminate their rivals.
Management: Nwachukwu (2009) defined management as “getting things done through and with others”. He further defined it more scientifically as the coordination of all the resources of an organization through the process of planning, organizing, directing and controlling in order to attain organizational objectives. Management is the guidance or direction of people toward organizational goals or objectives. It can also be seen as the supervising, controlling and coordinating of activity to attain optimum results with organizational resources.
Christian: McClintock and Strong (1981) defined Christian as “the name given to those who believe Jesus to be the Messiah”.
Christianity: The World Book Encyclopedia volume 3 (1980) defined Christianity as “the religion founded upon the life and teaching of Jesus Christ”. It has spread throughout the world and is the prevailing religion in the Western Hemisphere. There are about a billion Christians. They make up the largest religious group in the world. Christianity has influenced government, thought, and art for about 2,000 years.
Counseling: It is an aspect of the Christian ministry and is a spiritual approach that is designed for the provision of assistance and guidance in resolving personal, social, or psychological problems and difficulties, especially by a professional.
ENDNOTES OF CHAPTER ONE
Coser L. Continuities in the Studies of Social Conflict. (New York: Free Press, 1967), page 61.
Dixon, P. Peacemakers: Building Stability in a Complex World. (England: ISBN 978-1-84474-402–2, Inter Versity Press, 2009), page 149.
Inwang, I. Conflict Management: Socio-Spirito/Ecclesiological Perspectives. (Calabar, Nigeria: De-Rio Press Nig. Ltd., 2012), page 9.
McClintock, J. and Strong, J. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature, Volume II C-D. (U.S.A: Baker Book House, ISBN 0-8010-6123-7, 1981), page 269.
Modo, I., Oluwabamide, A., Akpan, O. and Ekpa, A. Issues in Peace and Conflict Resolution. (Uyo, Nigeria: Lisjohnson Resources Publishers, 2006), page 2.
Nwachukwu, C. Management Theory and Practice. (Onitsha, Nigeria: Africana First Publishers PLC, 2009), page 3.
New World Book Encyclopedia C-ch Volume 3. (USA: ISBN
0-7166-0080-3, 1980), page 406.