INTRODUCING a new small group resource . . .
Three years ago, with major funding from a Christian Foundation and the support of many people like you, we created a new seminar series called Flourish!
We launched the series in New England, targeting church and ministry leadership teams. The feedback we got was very heartening . . . and challenging.
People raved about the seminar. They loved the content, the spiritual insight they learned and the practical tools they took away that had immediate impact on them personally as well as long-term benefit for their ministry.
But with the praise came a challenge.
Leaders told us how difficult it was, (some said impossible), to persuade staff and volunteer ministry board leaders to take another Saturday out of their already busy schedules to attend an all-day seminar—especially when the topic was conflict.
Leaders wanted to learn, but wanted convenience too . . . and were a little queasy about the topic.
Conflict, as you know, is a subject many shy away from because it raises their memory hackles—of fear, or guilt or shame—which is why most Christians have never been trained in reconciliation . . . and why churches and ministries must call us when, inevitably, things fall apart.
Here was my dilemma: how can we provide the in-depth, life-changing content of a full-day seminar in bite-size pieces that people could access anytime, anywhere . . . without compromising quality . . . and in a way that welcomed learning about a topic they inherently avoided.
I thought about writing another book—putting the content in narrative form, like my book, Making Peace, which many churches still use . . . even though it was written in 2002. A book could be good.
On the other hand, fewer people are reading these days. Besides, you read a book alone, and the great benefit of the seminar approach is the dialogue and interaction with others.
I began thinking about video, maybe a DVD kit like others we have created? But kits require design and printing and store-housing and distributing and mailing materials that drive up the cost. Plus, nowadays you can access video on-line. Why buy something that sits on your shelf?
So, I began thinking about creating videos that people could downstream from the internet 24/7. All you need is a computer and an internet connection.
Streaming video solved the easy access problem.
But the “queasy topic” problem was still there.
I knew the videos needed to be welcoming, and safe for people to watch. Content needed to engage the topic honestly, but with a lighter touch . . . so people could discuss their feelings openly in a small group setting.
We needed something simple, but visually engaging . . . and something with a little humor.
I did not want a talking head video, a fake drama, or re-cycled sermon.
I looked at many different approaches.
Finally, I decided to go with simple art animation. I chose the art, designed each frame and wrote the scripts.
After the first recording, I realized we needed another voice, one that was different from and complemented my own. Again, I thought about how to do this in a creative way.
One day, I wondered, “What is a good example of joy, patience and unconditional love?”
The answer was obvious: a Golden Retriever.
Immediately, I knew we needed a dog to be our host.
So, I created a Golden Retriever named Lucy. Adding Lucy made the whole approach lighter and more inviting.
Plus, here is the amazing thing: Lucy can speak—English (and learning others). So, it worked out perfectly for her to be the host.
Anyway, I’ve spent the past year and had a lot of fun putting this curriculum together. I like it. I hope you will like it too.
That was the easy part . . . being creative.
But now comes the hard part, at least for me: promotion.
We’re getting ready to launch this new resource to the public. . . . and I wanted you to be among the first to see it.
Okay, let me be completely honest. I really need your help to spread the word.
I am no sales person. So, I am hoping you can help me.
Would you please go to this website www.flourishseries.org and watch the promo, then watch the first video. It is free!
If you like what you see, I’m asking you to consider using the resource in your small group this fall, and recommending it to your church.
Here are more specifics . . .
Engaging Conflict Redemptively is a new resource designed for small groups and leadership teams that includes . . .
- 12 sessions: ideal for monthly or bi-weekly small group meetings
- 8- to 10-minute streaming videos: short enough to keep your attention but long enough to provide deep content
- Study guide/workbook: one for each session to guide two hours or more of personal and group study. Each workbook includes:
- Scripture texts to read and discuss
- Personal and group exercises packed with biblical principles and practical applications—so you can go as deep as you want
- Comprehensive content to examine conflict from every angle so you can change the way you think, feel and act about conflic
Here is a description of the content in Engaging Conflict Redemptively , and why it will be so beneficial to you and your group . . .
- Solid, biblical teaching: for in-depth look at what Jesus, Paul and all of Scripture teach about conflict reconciliation.
- Practical application: to see yourself truthfully so you can treat others honestly.
- Discover the story you are telling yourself.
- Learn why all conflict starts with you—what is true and false about the story you are telling yourself.
- Explore how God wants to heal or redeem from your past.
- Be freed from deep emotional wounds and unreconciled conflicts in your past.
- 5 dynamic turning points: discover the five dynamics of every conflict—from what triggers conflict in you to how conflict is forming your character.
- 4 common default emotions: Identify your default emotions—where they come from and how they lead to negative responses.
- Learn how to attend to your emotions, how to stop, listen and discern what you are feeling so you can make better choices of how to respond.
- Discover how to abide in Jesus presence through confl ict.
- 4 common, quick-fix reactions: that always make the conflict worse Identify and stop using quick-fix responses that only make the conflict worse.
- Explore how to exercise patience and peace in chaosYou can live at peace when everything and everyone around you is chaos.
- Learn why you separate from others and what happens when you do.
- Discover how to engage your conflict when everything in you wants to run away.
- Explore how to speak the truth in love and why your emotional, relational and spiritual growth depend on you practicing this vital command.
- 7 steps for genuine, humble confession: how to say, “I’m sorry,” and really mean it.
- 8 steps for gentle confrontation: how to gently but directly correct the wrongs of another.
- Recognizing your own self-deception: to expose the lies that you are telling yourself so you can think clearly and respond truthfully to your conflict.
Plus, Engaging Conflict Redemptively will help you and your small group find practical answers to these common questions . . .
- What is the difference between judging and correcting others? Clearly understand the vital difference between these frequently confused subjects—why and how you must correct sin in others while never judging them.
- Is forgiveness unconditional? Discover how love is intricately connected to forgiveness and why lack of one will bring failure in the other.
- Why reconciliation is more than forgiveness: Learn why forgiveness is the start, not the end, of biblical reconciliation.
- How to distinguish between genuine godly sorrow and fake worldly sorrow: How to tell if someone is really sorry for what they did, or just sorry they got caught.
- How to make generous restitution: The secret to earning back the trust you have broken.
- How conflict can transform your character: How conflict reveals who you really are and what God wants you to become.
- How can I experience true joy in conflict? Learn to see conflict as an opportunity to grow and experience true, lasting joy.
- How bitterness creates a hardened heart.
- Why some people insist they are right even after being proven wrong: Discover why self-deception leads to self-justification.
- What to do when someone refuses reconciliation: Why you are not responsible for the response of others.
- How your team/friends/group can engage conflict redemptively: Change the quality of your life, while transforming the effectiveness of your group.
Finally, we made the cost of Engaging Conflict Redemptively simple and affordable. No gimmicks. just $5.00 per session. Plus, the first session is free. Then, pay as you go.
Leading change is one of the most important and dangerous tasks a leader is called to do.
Leading change is important because all growth requires change. It is dangerous because most people resist change, so they will seek to demonize the leader and sabotage the idea. Many ministries fail to grow because leaders fear change, or seek change through passive or coercive strategies that only increase the likelihood of resistance and failure.
Announcing Flourish, a new video series designed exclusively to equip ministry leadership teams in unity, trust, and the essential attributes for leading dynamic change. This series incorporates learning from Metanoia Ministries' 24 years serving more than 95 churches and leadership teams.
The great need in the church today is for spiritual leaders who are equipped for leading dynamic change.
Flourish is a comprehensive new process designed to equip ministry leaders, board members, and leadership teams to lead change by learning the essential skills of:
- Presence: Being a non-anxious presence
- Adaptability: Focusing on and adapting toward strengths instead of weaknesses
- Courage: Correcting, while staying connected to, community
- Patience: Employing patient, growth-producing response to difficult situations
- Decisiveness: Welcoming input for discernment, yet being decisive
- Accountability: Encouraging responsibility over empathy
- Integrity: Working toward the preservation of organizational integrity
Flourish will equip your leadership team with the presence and being for implementing fruitful change in your ministry.
To flourish is to grow in a healthy and vigorous way, especially as the result of a favorable environment.
The health of any organization is a reflection of its leadership. Leaders create the environment for growth or decay, for creativity or sabotage. Culture, history, and structure contribute, but are not the dominant factor in growth. Likewise, neither organizational methods nor psychological techniques are capable of producing sustained, Kingdom growth. Rather, the emotional-spiritual capacity of leader(s) determines the vitality of a church.
This is why we have created Flourish . . .
Flourish gathers the insight and accumulated experience of more than 24 years working with leaders in churches and ministries across North America. For more than two decades we have witnessed how conflict has increased, ministry has declined, and leaders have become discouraged.
During this time, in an effort to help these ministries, we have employed the latest strategies of organizational development and the wisdom of social science, each with only moderate and limited affect. Slowly and decisively we have come to believe that these factors, while interesting and instructive, are neither sufficient nor predictive. Rather, we have found, the single greatest factor for predicting vitality and growth in a church is the emotional presence and spiritual being of its leader(s). It is leadership character, not competency; and presence, not technique that has greatest impact on the vitality and growth of a church.
Your leaders will grow in...
- Unity: building community on your team and in your ministry by learning how to anticipate, prevent, and reconcile conflict in your own life first, than when leading change.
- Capacity: growing trust with your people to take faith-filled risk--by taking a stand and making decisions through spiritual discernment and collaboration.
- Clarity: developing a specific strategy to lead significant change in your ministry guided by a biblical, fruit-based pathway for growth.
Plus, your team will grow spiritually, by discovering what it means to "abide in Christ" and following Jesus' example of:
- Engaging Conflict Redemptively
- Making Decisions Collaboratively, and
- Leading Change Organically
Church Leadership is Spiritual Farming
The work is difficult, sometimes painful. Growth requires pruning – cutting back and removing the unproductive, so that new growth may appear. Bearing fruit takes patience and diligence. Joy comes from bearing fruit that glorifies God.
God produces the growth. Not leaders. Not seminars. Not methods.
The secret is in abiding – staying connected to Jesus through prayer, obedience, and faithfulness. Flourish will explore with you what it means to "abide" in Jesus as Jesus abides in the Father.
Here is what your team will discover together:
- Examining and taking responsibility for your emotional and spiritual being
- Reconciliation as a way of life
- The church as visible witness and physical presence
- Why conflict is inevitable and good
- Widely-held myths that hinder growth
- Common conflict responses and how they make things worse
- Why growth requires speaking the truth in love
- How to say "I'm sorry" and really mean it
- How to confront gently, but directly
- Leadership is abiding
- The essential virtues of godly leadership
- Assessing your fruitfulness and capacity for growth
- Frequent mistakes in leadership decision-making
- Inviting and testing congregational discernment
- When consensus decision-making is good, and bad
- Identifying and cultivating vital leadership gifts, strengths and skills for growth
Stage Three: Leading Change Organically
- Fruitfulness, leadership and abiding in Christ
- The complex nature of organic change
- Barriers to leading change and how to overcome them
- Key insights for "following the fruit"
- Developing and implementing a dynamic strategy for fruitfulness