What is conflict

What is conflict

What is conflict?

Conflict is inevitable; it is a part of human life. The church is composed of people of different status, caste, creed, and culture. So, accordingly, everyone has different ideas; thoughts, and beliefs, and because of the differences conflicts occur from time to time.

The church can set an example by teaching the congregation to manage conflicts with a positive attitude. So, it is essential to recognize the conflicts or disagreements.

I. Meaning and Definition of the conflict


The word “conflict” comes from the Latin fligere, which means “to strike together.” Whenever two or more people pursue mutually exclusive goals; or whenever one person’s needs collide with another’s conflict result.

Human efforts like deas, goals, or desires are the fulfillment of their needs. But, if there were no effort among humans, there would be conflict. Conflict simply means a struggle for power by contending forces, a clash of views, or a difference of opinion.

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II. Types of conflict

Interpersonal conflict:

Interpersonal conflicts are the conflicts on personal grounds; such as between church members, staff, and leaders. Interpersonal conflict is a typical disagreement between two or more people.

For example, this disagreement is who will sing in the choir or lead when there are one spot and more than one person desires it. Interpersonal conflict may then escalate into a negative confrontation that will require intervention.

Intrapersonal conflict:

The intrapersonal conflict occurred between the two individuals persons. The contest one has when different parts of the self-complete with one another. I want to be a beloved pastor, but I also want to be a preacher who speaks the truth.

Substantive conflict:

Substantive conflict can be between two individuals or groups, conflicting over facts; means, values, goals, and beliefs. For example, I think we ought to put a new roof in the church; but the social concerns committee wants to open a clothes closet for the poor.

III. Conflict in the Church

Here, we could bring two important conflicts which will be found in churches. They are; interpersonal and inter-family conflicts; the prefix ‘inter’ refers to something that exists across quite one person, place, or thing.

Thus, it follows that interpersonal and inter-family problems with conflicts exist across different persons and different families within the church.

A. Interpersonal Conflicts

An interpersonal conflict could also be simply described as a clash between two individuals; who are unwilling or unable to satisfy the expectations of each other. It is on personal conflicts between church Members, staff, and leadership.

This might be characterized by about ninety percent of all the church conflicts. These conflicts could start on small issues for instance; the selection of who will lead worship during service and this might escalate into a negative confrontation; which will require Pastoral Counseling intervention.

Interpersonal conflicts come at various forms like rumor, insult, legalism, power controls, and false teachings so as to defend one self.

a. Identifying sources of conflict in congregations

Identifying sources of conflict in congregations

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Attempts are made to undertake to spot the sources of conflict in congregations. Roy Pneumann identified some of the conflicts’ sources; which are we can see in the congregations. They are the following:

1) Members disagree about values and beliefs.

2) The congregation’s structure is unclear.

3) The pastor’s role and responsibilities are in conflict.

4) The structure not fits the congregation’s size.

5) The clergy and lay leadership styles don’t match.

6) The new pastor rushes into changes.

7) Communication lines are blocked.

8) Church members manage conflict poorly; and

9) Disaffected members twiddling my thumbs participation and pledges.

b. Models of resolving the interpersonal conflicts

i. Identify the matter:

Have a discussion to know each side of the matter. The goal at this first stage is to mention what you would like and to concentrate on; what the opposite person wants.

Define the items that you simply both agree on; also because of the ideas that have caused the disagreement. It is important to concentrate actively on what the opposite is saying; use ‘I’ statements and avoid blame.

ii. Come Up with Several Possible Solutions:

This is often the brainstorming phase. Drawing on the points that both agree on; and one’s shared goals generate an inventory of as many ideas together can for solving the matter; no matter how feasible they could be. Aim toward the number of ideas instead of quality during this phase; and let creativity be our guide.

iii. Evaluate Alternative Solutions:

Now undergo the list of other solutions to the matter, one by one. It’s important for every person to be honest during this phase. The solutions won’t be ideal for either person and should involve compromise.

iv. Choose the simplest Solution:

Select the answer that seems mutually acceptable; albeit it’s not perfect for either party. As long because it seems fair and there’s a mutual commitment to figure with the choice; the conflict features a chance for resolution.

v. Implement the answer:

It is important to agree on the small print of what each one must do; who is liable for implementing various parts of the agreement; and what to try just in case the agreement starts to interrupt down.

vi. Still evaluate the answer:

Conflict resolutions should be seen as works ongoing. Make it to some extent to ask the opposite person from time to time how things are going. Something unexpected may need to come up or some aspect of the matter may are overlooked. Your decisions should be seen as hospitable revision; as long because the revisions are prescribed mutually.

B. Inter-femaly Conflicts

Marital conflict is yet one more sort of conflict within the church. It also provides the foremost sensitive setting during which conflicts can develop. In marriages, a church encounters in-law issues and finances personality differences mainly.

However, it should even be noted that marriage also can provide a classroom for both the congregants and priests to know conflict generally. From this, we could observe the similarities between marital and other sorts of conflicts, and be ready to come up with a technique for effective management of conflict. Most of the conflicts come out by, infidelity, financial management, and communication breakdown.


a. Handling Conflicts in Families

All families have conflicts within the church with many disagreements and anger; as a neighborhood of their life within the church. We have like to possess good ways to handle disagreements and express anger at an appropriate time.

Disagreements are a traditional part of human relationships. They have a tendency to be even more common during a family with teenagers. Regardless of how closely unite a family is, conflict is inevitable. Conflict is natural and shouldn’t be ignored.

The following points are useful for handling conflicts among families:

1. Setting reasonable guidelines for discussing conflict is extremely crucial. Reaching a mutually agreeable resolution will help both parties to affect the conflict and move past it. It is also important that every and every family get an address to speak to.

2. Family counseling will help the family in resolving the prevailing conflicts. Counseling will provide better results than simply bringing a friend, loved one, or another third party to mediate. However, in some instances, third-party mediation can work.

3. Conflict is often resolved if everyone tries to keep calm and show respect for others. If someone is extremely emotional; it’s going to be better to attend for additional time to tackle the disagreement or conflict.

4. It is excellent and effective to give everyone of the family an opportunity to express his or her own point of view when there is conflict.

5. Persons need to have patience. Even if he/she afflicts others opinion, at least he/she can show respect for others point of view. For having better leads to handling conflict in the family; it’s important to understand that an individual might not ultimately accept as true with others view. Instead, he/she need to work to seek out how to get along; even when he/she may disagree.

6. Anger:

This is a healthy human emotion and it often happens in life. Anger must be expressed in an appropriate way. Violent never can solve the problems.

i. The Defusing Technique:

When someone blames others’ unhappiness then another person may be angry and will come back to matters armed with so many arguments. One’s goal is to deal with the other’s anger; and one should do that by simply agreeing with the person.

When one finds some truth within the other point of view; it’s difficult for the other person to maintain anger. We need to acknowledge that individuals have alternative ways of seeing things.

ii. Empathy:

It is an attempt to put oneself into the shoes of the other person and see the world through the other person’s eyes. Empathy may be a listening technique from where one can give the other feedback. There are two forms of empathy:

  1. Thought Empathy gives the message that one can understand what the other is trying to mention. One can do that in conversation by paraphrasing the words of the other person.
  2. Feeling Empathy: This is one’s acknowledgment of how the other person probably feels. It’s important never to attribute emotions which can not exist for the other person.

iii. Exploration:

Ask gentle, probing questions on what the other person is thinking and feeling. Encourage the other to bring out what is on his or her mind by asking.

iv. Using ‘I’ Statements:

Take responsibility for your own thoughts instead of attributing motives to the other person.

v. Stroking:

Find positive things to mention about the other person; even if the other angry with you. Show a respectful attitude.

b. Resolving the Conflict

After assessing the preceding issues; some or all of the subsequent steps could be useful in resolving the conflict.

  1. The scripture, prayer, or spiritual are conflict-resolution techniques; treasured by one’s own faith tradition or denomination.
  2. Meditate and pray about the situation and wait for the proper opportunity to deal with it.

c. Preventive of Conflict

There are more people that don’t want to make conflict with others. But, there are some who try to make conflict. They struggle to interrupt human healthy communication and relationship with the words.

The problem happens when we fail to use cooperative approaches systematically in handling others. Sometimes, we forget how to contributes our behavior to others in interpersonal problems. We feel so frustrated that we specialize in our own desires at the expense of others’. so we discover ourselves in conflict.

  1. It is important to spot the ways during which we contribute to the disagreement. This is a method of doing that is to spot a selected, recent conflicted situation, recall what you said; then think specifically about how you’ll have used simpler language.


There is a need to change the culture within the church. So, as for conflict to be handled creatively and transformative. The reason to effect such a change is so that the church can provide a more authentic and dynamic witness to the world of God’s loves purposes and therefore the transformed community into which he calls all people.

However, church conflict is a broad field with many denominations. This will be important for such research to spot specific areas of church conflict for exploration and taking account of the time.

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