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Bukal Life Care
www.bukallifecare.org
Conflict in the
Mission Field
Two Truths to Face
Look around the room
1. There will be conflicts
2. These are some of the people you will be in
conflict...
Why?
● Culture Shock
● Our Hidden and Blind Selves
● Personality Conflicts and Substantive Concerns
● Group Process Stormi...
Culture Shock
● Our culture establishes norms and taboos, and rewards and
punishes behaviors.
● When we go to a new cultur...
Hidden and Blind Selves
Johari Window
● We get along with others
best when each has a large
mutual “Open Self:” aware
of w...
Personality and Substantive Differences
● God has made each of us unique.
● We have different personalties, beliefs, visio...
Group Process Storming
● Healthy groups go through a transitional stages. One
of these, “storming” is where the group disc...
“Bomb in the Suitcase”
● Our weaknesses, masked by social controls at home
and by accountability structures, can be carrie...
Ministry Stress
● Long-hours traveling
and minstering puts a
major toll on the body,
the emotions, and the
mind.
● This ca...
Time
● People can pretend to get along, hide behind a
“mask” and deal with lack of sleep and self-care...
for awhile.
● St...
So What Can We Do to Help Ensure that
Conflicts don't Destroy the Ministry?
● Self-Knowledge
● Healthy View of Conflict
● ...
Self-Knowledge
● A healthy person knows
himself or herself.
● Know strengths,
weaknesses, triggers, areas
where one can he...
Healthy View of Conflict
● Conflicts are not necessarily caused by sin or
failure.
● Conflicts happen because each person ...
Self-Care
● We are not machines (and even
machines need a break now and
then). God made us limited and
interdependent bein...
Communicate
● Good communication prevents many team
problems. Share with others regarding yourself. Ask
others about thems...
Healthy Boundaries
● Know beforehand what you will allow and what you
won't.
● It is not ungodly to say “No.” God created ...
Handle Small Problems When They are
Small
● Many (most?) small
problems don't just go
away. They may build into
big proble...
Establish a Community of Trust
● People share concerns, accept criticisms, and work
through conflict better when there is ...
What Happens When Conflicts are NOT
Resolved
A mission team can go through similar process as
what happens in a church whe...
“Two intensifying processes take place
throughout the stages of unresolved conflict:
(a) an increasing personal frustratio...
STAGES
Stage 1. (Sometimes) an Uncomfortable
Feeling. Something is wrong but not sure
what.
Stage 2. A Problem to be Resol...
STAGES
Stage 3. A Person to Differ with. (Other
person-focused) Sides are determined.
Discussion changes from what is the ...
STAGES
Stage 5. A Person to Attack. <Other person-
focused. Greater intensity>. Battle lines are
drawn. Stereotyping of th...
STAGES
Stage 7. A Person to Expel, Withdraw from,
or Ruin. <Other person-focused, Greater
intensity> All or nothing battle...
STAGES
This sounds extreme... but around the world
IT HAPPENS EVERY DAY!!
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Conflict in the Mission Field

Review of Causes and Responses to Stress. Presentation was designed for Short-term Missionaries serving in Asia.

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Conflict in the Mission Field

  1. 1. Bukal Life Care www.bukallifecare.org Conflict in the Mission Field
  2. 2. Two Truths to Face Look around the room 1. There will be conflicts 2. These are some of the people you will be in conflict with.
  3. 3. Why? ● Culture Shock ● Our Hidden and Blind Selves ● Personality Conflicts and Substantive Concerns ● Group Process Storming ● “Bomb in the Suitcase” ● Ministerial Stress ● Time
  4. 4. Culture Shock ● Our culture establishes norms and taboos, and rewards and punishes behaviors. ● When we go to a new culture, at first it is exotic and exciting... something new and interesting to experiences. ● However, this will soon wear off... and the new culture will begin to be irritating. ● Additionally, you will feel incompetent... difficult communicating, not knowing what to do, having to be told what to do like a child. ● This irritation leads to stress, anger, and disagreements.
  5. 5. Hidden and Blind Selves Johari Window ● We get along with others best when each has a large mutual “Open Self:” aware of who we are and others also aware of us. ● Blind and Hidden selves lead to misunderstandings, misinterpretations, conflict.
  6. 6. Personality and Substantive Differences ● God has made each of us unique. ● We have different personalties, beliefs, visions and ways of doing things. ● This WILL lead to tensions ● Every person on your team will have things about them that will annoy you. It is likely you will discover these things at inconvenient times.
  7. 7. Group Process Storming ● Healthy groups go through a transitional stages. One of these, “storming” is where the group discovers how to work together effectively and efficiently. Storming is important, but not easy, often involving considerable conflict.
  8. 8. “Bomb in the Suitcase” ● Our weaknesses, masked by social controls at home and by accountability structures, can be carried with us and “explode” in a new setting. ● Anger ● Lust ● Greed ● Power ● (and many more)
  9. 9. Ministry Stress ● Long-hours traveling and minstering puts a major toll on the body, the emotions, and the mind. ● This can lead to burn- out, breakdown of health, compassion fatigue, and lashing out at others. .
  10. 10. Time ● People can pretend to get along, hide behind a “mask” and deal with lack of sleep and self-care... for awhile. ● Stresses accumulate over time, and little problems begin to become big problems.
  11. 11. So What Can We Do to Help Ensure that Conflicts don't Destroy the Ministry? ● Self-Knowledge ● Healthy View of Conflict ● Self-Care ● Communication ● Healthy Boundaries ● Handle small problems when they are small ● Establish a community of trust
  12. 12. Self-Knowledge ● A healthy person knows himself or herself. ● Know strengths, weaknesses, triggers, areas where one can help, and areas where one can be of help.
  13. 13. Healthy View of Conflict ● Conflicts are not necessarily caused by sin or failure. ● Conflicts happen because each person is unique, and people care about what is going on. ● God made us unique and it is good that we care. ● Handled right, conflict leads to growth, team cohesiveness, and greater overall effectiveness.
  14. 14. Self-Care ● We are not machines (and even machines need a break now and then). God made us limited and interdependent beings. ● Take care of your health. Get rest when you can. Take breaks. Maintain spiritual and social health.
  15. 15. Communicate ● Good communication prevents many team problems. Share with others regarding yourself. Ask others about themselves. ● People do not read minds. The Bible says we should grieve with those that grieve... forgive one another... admonish one another... encourage one another... and bear one another's burdens. These start with communication.
  16. 16. Healthy Boundaries ● Know beforehand what you will allow and what you won't. ● It is not ungodly to say “No.” God created us as limited beings with limited resources. ● Remember, that others need healthy boundaries as well. Respect those boundaries. ● Healthy boundaries become more important, and harder to maintain in new places in new situations.
  17. 17. Handle Small Problems When They are Small ● Many (most?) small problems don't just go away. They may build into big problems. ● Alternatively, even if the small problem “goes away” it may leave residual stresses and emotional scars that will make the next problems harder to handle. • •
  18. 18. Establish a Community of Trust ● People share concerns, accept criticisms, and work through conflict better when there is mutual trust. ● Trust means that we won't be judged for saying what we think and feel. ● Trust means we believe that we have each other's best interests at heart. ● Trust means we believe that we share a common vision for the team even when there are differences in terms of methods, or priorities.
  19. 19. What Happens When Conflicts are NOT Resolved A mission team can go through similar process as what happens in a church when conflicts are not resolved. <Reference: The Escalating Stages of Unresolved Church Conflict by Ken Newberger>
  20. 20. “Two intensifying processes take place throughout the stages of unresolved conflict: (a) an increasing personal frustration over the unresolved issue(s), and (b) an increasing negative perception of the character of the other person / people.”
  21. 21. STAGES Stage 1. (Sometimes) an Uncomfortable Feeling. Something is wrong but not sure what. Stage 2. A Problem to be Resolved. Problem identified. <Issue-focused> [Best time to resolve a conflict]
  22. 22. STAGES Stage 3. A Person to Differ with. (Other person-focused) Sides are determined. Discussion changes from what is the best solution, to who is right and who is wrong. Stage 4. A Dispute to Win. <Issue-focused with greater intensity> Collaboration breaks down. Other issues begin to add to the conflict. Feelings get hurt.
  23. 23. STAGES Stage 5. A Person to Attack. <Other person- focused. Greater intensity>. Battle lines are drawn. Stereotyping of the other side occurs with the worst thought of adversaries. Stage 6. My “Face” to Save. <Self- focused. Greater Intensity> Things get personal. Protecting one’s image and character become dominant. Things are seen as black vs white, good versus evil.
  24. 24. STAGES Stage 7. A Person to Expel, Withdraw from, or Ruin. <Other person-focused, Greater intensity> All or nothing battle. Someone or a whole group must go. Stage 8. The Aftermath. All are affected. Some are embarrassed. Some are not satisfied and want to ruin the reputations of others. Some are full of shame and now lose confidence in themselves.
  25. 25. STAGES This sounds extreme... but around the world IT HAPPENS EVERY DAY!!

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