Agreeing and Disagreeing in Love -- Commitments for Mennonites in Times of Disagreement (General Conference Mennonite Church, Mennonite Church, 1995)
"Making every effort to maintain the unity
of the Spirit in the bond of peace," (Ephesians 4:3) as both
individual members and the body of Christ, we pledge that we shall:
|| 1. Acknowledge together that conflict is a
normal part of our life in the church. (Romans 14:1-8, 10-12,
17-19; Romans 15:1-7)
|| 2. Affirm that as God walks with us in
conflict we can work through to growth. (Ephesians 4:15-16)
|Commit to prayer
|| 3. Admit our needs and commit ourselves to
pray for a mutually satisfactory solution (no prayers for my
success or for the other to change but to find a joint way).
|Go to the other...
|| 4. Go directly to those with whom we disagree;
avoid behind-the- back criticism.* (Matthew
5:23-24; Matthew 18:15-20)
|In the spirit of humility...
|| 5.Go in gentleness, patience and humility.
Place the problem between us at neither doorstep and own our
part in the conflict instead of pointing out the others'.
|Be quick to listen,
|| 6. Listen carefully, summarize and check out
what is heard before responding. Seek as much to understand as to
be understood. (James 1:19; Proverbs 18:13)
|Be slow to judge,
|| 7. Suspend judgments, avoid labeling, end
name calling, discard threats, and act in a non-defensive,
nonreactive way. (Romans 2:1-4; Galatians 5:22-26)
|Be willing to negotiate
|| 8. Work through the disagreements
constructively. (Acts 15; Philippians 2:1-11) Identify issues,
interests, and needs of both (rather than take positions).
- Generate a variety of options for meeting both parties'
needs (rather than defending one's own way).
- Evaluate options by how they meet the needs and satisfy the
interests of all sides (not one side's values).
- Collaborate in working out a joint solution (so both sides
gain, both grow and win).
- Cooperate with the emerging agreement (accept the possible,
not demand your ideal).
- Reward each other for each step forward, toward agreement
|Be steadfast in love,
|| 9. Be firm in our commitment to seek a mutual
solution; be stubborn in holding to our common foundation in
Christ; be steadfast in love. (Colossians 3:12-15)
|Be open to mediation,
|| 10. Be open to accept skilled help. If we
cannot reach agreement among ourselves, we will use those with
gifts and training in mediation in the larger church. (Philippians
|Trust the community,
|| 11. We will trust the community and if we
cannot reach agreement or experience reconciliation, we will
turn the decision over to others in the congregation or from the
broader church. (Acts 15)
- In one-to-one or small group disputes, this may mean
allowing others to arbitrate.
- In congregational, conference district or denominational
disputes, this may mean allowing others to arbitrate or
implementing constitutional decision-making processes,
insuring that they are done in the spirit of these guidelines,
and abiding by whatever decision is made.
|Be the Body of Christ.
|| 12. Believe in and rely on the solidarity of
the Body of Christ and its commitment to peace and justice, rather
than resort to the courts of law. (1 Corinthians 6:1-6)
* Go directly if you are European-North
American; in other cultures disagreements are often addressed
through a trusted go between.
Approved by General Conference Mennonite Church Triennial Assembly and
Mennonite Church General Assembly, July 29, 1995
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General Conference Mennonite Church and Mennonite Church. "Agreeing and Disagreeing in Love -- Commitments for Mennonites in Times of Disagreement (General Conference Mennonite Church, Mennonite Church, 1995)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online.
1995. Web. 21 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/A41.html.APA style:
General Conference Mennonite Church and Mennonite Church. (1995). Agreeing and Disagreeing in Love -- Commitments for Mennonites in Times of Disagreement (General Conference Mennonite Church, Mennonite Church, 1995). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online.
Retrieved 21 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/A41.html.