Congregational Transformation Tools for Building Sustainable, Healthy Relationships
Core Concept of Balance • “I” – Who am I? What do I need? What can I ask for? How am I responsible? How should I respond? What are my patterns? • “We” - How do we stay connected? How do we challenge one another? How do we disagree? • “Larger Vision” – How do we reconcile our differences to serve a larger vision?
“Speak the Truth in Love” Covenant for Working Together • Speaking • We will speak for ourselves and not for others • the “Truth” • We will speak only of our own experience • We will try to speak as factually as possible • in Love • We will speak honestly, with respect, and listen to understand
Speaking for Yourself “I” statements • Speak for yourself not for others • Avoid judgments and conclusions about others • Speak from your own experience • Tell your own truth
Triangles • Good triangles: distribute anxiety; natural phenomena • Bad triangles: try to make someone else responsible who cannot fix it • “secrets” • Patterns of “stuckness” • Not about the person but the system
Self-differentiation • Awareness of self • Patterns of communication • What is “mine” and what is “theirs” • “Connected” as opposed to “merged” • Only one I can change is myself
Conflict Styles • Avoidance - deciding not to engage in conflict • Compromise - trying to find a middle position where all parties give a little to gain • Collaboration - trying to find a solution where the needs of all parties are completely met • Competition - conflict is seen as a win-lose situation and the will to win dominates • Accommodation - appeasing the other side
The Ladder of Assumptions “Climbing the Ladder” A Conclusion An Assumption A Speculation A Hunch Observable Facts
Interests vs. Positions • Interests are the needs, desires, concerns and fears behind our positions • A position is a decision you have made, an interest is what motivates or causes your decision • Interests allow for connection; Positions polarize
Deep Listening • Listen to understand, not to think about what you should say next • Listening to understand does not demand agreement • Concentrate on the other person’s thoughts and feelings, not your own.
Deep Listening • Listen 200%: focus attention to the words behind the words • Be attentive to unconscious discounting behaviors • Validate the feelings you have heard (again, not the same as agreement)
Paraphrasing • Clarify your understanding • Walk them “down the ladder” • Restate what you have heard (including feelings) • Do not judge or evaluate (yet!)
Covenantal Dialogue Respond to others creatively rather than critically • Seek to affirm the merit before noting the weakness • Share positive reactions before jumping to concerns, questions, or criticisms • Ask clarifying questions
Covenantal Dialogue, cont’d Have your emotions, don’t be had by them • Try to understand why you are reacting the way you are • Take responsibility for your own emotions • Express your feelings as your own, and request a concrete action
Emotional Systems Thinking An anxious, “emotional” response is: • Instinctive • Habitual • Defensive or • Without premeditation (automatic) This does not include your feelings of love, anger, fear, frustration, sadness, etc.
Congregational Dynamics • Lowering Anxiety • Monitor your own functioning / emotions • Create opportunities to listen • Create time and space • Give clear choices
Congregational Dynamics The Curle Diagram Relations Unpeaceful Stable Static Unstable Dynamic Sustainable Peace Balanced Negotiation POWER Un- Balanced Cut-offs Confrontation Latent Conflict Overt Conflict Low High Awareness of Conflict
Congregational Dynamics • What Doesn’t Work • “Confidential” surveys or questionnaires • Large public “congregational” meetings • A “hearing”
Listening Circles • Dialogue not Debate • Facilitated by trained facilitators • Designed to surface issues • Solutions must come after • Builds community
Rules for Listening Circles • Begin with Covenant • Confidentiality • Transparency of raised issues • No “cross-talk” • No interruptions • Questions that are evocative, not predictive • Responses are paraphrased
The Art of Asking Powerful Questions • Generates energy and motivation to explore • Stimulates reflective thinking • Challenges or alters assumptions • Evokes more questions From “The Art of Powerful Questions” by Eric E. Vogt et al
Question Comparison What’s your opinion about whether we should do “Candles of Joy and Concern”
Question Comparison What’s your opinion about whether we should do “Candles of Joy and Concern” Compared to: How might our worship provide opportunities for community building connections.
Final Reflection • What is in the best interest of the congregation and its mission? • What do I want? • How is that different from what I really need?