Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Peacemaking Church

About six weeks ago I was sent a free review copy of some of the materials for The Peacemaking Church from Peacemaker Ministries.  If you aren't familiar with Peacemaker Ministries I've mentioned them numerous times here on my blog and you can check them out at  Ken Sande leads this organization, and his book The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict is one of the best books I have ever read.

The materials I received are not a full set of study materials, but let me state up front, from the portion I received it is clear that this is some very well done materials that will be a blessing to many churches.

Peacemaker Ministries has some videos on Vimeo to support these materials. Below is an introduction to the resource:

The Leadership Opportunity
This resource is a DVD-based group study for church leadership teams.  It is intended to guide that church through the process of how to deal with conflict within the church in healthy ways.  Of course these are lessons we can transport outside the church into day to day life as well.  Anywhere there is leadership, there will be conflict - the question always is will that organization handle it in a healthy way.

Along with the DVD is a study guide workbook that you would need to get for each participant.  The workbook is truly an excellent resource.  It is well constructed, nicely laid out, and easy to use.  But above that, and most important in my opinion, is the fact that it is dripping with scripture.  Peacemaker Ministries are soundly grounded in the Word of God, and this resource is no different.  The study guide is great enough to be a stand alone resource, but clearly it was created with the DVD in mind.

Each session of the study guide starts with a brief "In This Session" paragraph that gives you a nice snap shot of what you will be studying.  Then it gives a brief bio on the person who was the primary source for creating that session.  The people they use as resources are remarkably well qualified for this sort of work.  From there the workbook gives you loads of things to think about as you read through it.  Much of it challenging your preconceptions on leadership and conflict.  Without question this resource pushes you individually, as well as the groups as a whole to grow in faith and leadership.  Each section concludes with some insightful and discussion provoking questions to work through.

I really believe many churches would greatly benefit from this resource.  Few churches are really living out their faith in their leadership in the deeply Biblical way that is advocated in The Leadership Opportunity study.  Almost everyone has something they could gain from this resource.

The only drawback that I see is that with the materials being so comprehensive and so in depth, that they at times are literally overwhelming.  I would highly recommend that if you are thinking about leading your church through this, that you really work through it by yourself before leading your church through it. That way you can build a foundation for your own thinking for biblical conflict resolution prior to having to guide others to change how they've "done church" for many years.  This is in no way a light resource, so if you are looking for a quick fix to your church's problems, you need to look elsewhere.  But if you are serious about changing your church's culture and are willing to put in the time to wrestle through this with each other and God, then you will truly be blessed when you come out on the other side of this as a healthier leadership group.

CJ Mahaney reviewed the full set recently and his review is also worth checking out. (I guess I'm not as much a big-wig as CJ since they trusted him with the whole set!)


Steve said...

You might find the following blogs of interest about C.J. Mahaney and the group he leads, Sovereign Grace Ministries:

If you read these blogs you would be quite surprised that C.J. Mahaney would teach on "peacemaking."

They tell another side. Hope this helps.

mrclm said...

Your links have been posted here before, and I left them for those who might be interested. I read through it myself. But I'm not going to leave your links each and every time I mention CJ, Josh, or Sovereign Grace unless you interact on my blog beyond just arriving when your Google Alert tells you I used one of your hot button words so you can plop down your standard form comment.

Steve said...


I understand. I hope you saw the additional comment that I added.

I find it perplexing for C.J. Mahaney to endorse a book and system like this when I read various accounts of what goes on in his group. You hear of people being "asked" to leave which certainly doesn't sound like "peacemaking" or resolving conflict.