Biblical Conflict Resolution and Email

“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” Matthew 18:15-17

Hopefully we all use this model of conflict resolution when we have been wronged, or are angry with others, but I think it’s also effective in the workplace to resolve minor disagreements. For example, imagine a scenario where you have made a request, and it was either dismissed or ignored. You need something done, but did not get help from another staff member. Following this model of resolution, you would first approach the staff member and find out what was going on. If that did not resolve the issue, then you could widen the conversation and bring in another staff member if appropriate. After that you could go to the supervisor.

In most situations this seems to work pretty well. I find most things get cleared up in stage 1. I rarely ever have to go to a supervisor for a decision.

However, there is one method of communication where I find people automatically jump to stage 3, and involve the supervisor. They do it without thinking. Maybe just because it’s easy. Maybe they want the protection of proof that they have tried to accomplish their goals.

Too often people will run into a problem, and craft an email, and for some reason they will go ahead and copy their supervisor, and maybe a few more related parties. They don’t mention that they copied anyone, the email is obviously directed at the initial recipient. But multiple people are copied.

When I get emails like this, I always wonder what the sender was trying to accomplish? It feels like they were trying to get me into trouble, while trying to make themselves look good to coworkers and supervisors. As a supervisor, I almost always disregard emails like this, where I am copied for no reason. Or, depending on the subject, I may intervene and address the sender directly about the issue.

If you are truly trying to solve a problem, to get something done, don’t copy a lot of people unnecessarily on an email chain. It does not get anything done faster, and in most cases actually hurts the work relationships involved.

My suggested method of conflict resolution involving email communication:

1. Follow the biblical conflict resolution model.
2. Be clear.
3. Give the other person the benefit of the doubt. They didn’t mean it that way. Don’t read into the text.
4. Don’t respond to emails when angry, or late at night.
5. If you aren’t getting anything resolved, get out of your chair and go see the other person, if possible. Call them. Don’t just keep typing.

Emails is a very handy tool, but it is not the only method of communication available to you. Use it when appropriate, but a face to face conversation where both parties can see body language and hear tone of voice is much more effective when resolving conflict.

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Simpler

We have a venue we started over a year ago. It’s about 17 miles west of the main campus. It was one of those moments of opportunity. The high school where it meets had been leased by a different church. That church stopped meeting there, and sold off most of the equipment they used. We, in turn, bought most of the equipment they we were selling. We leased the high school auditorium, cafeteria, and several rooms.

We launched First orlando @ Ocoee Easter of 2008. It was huge thing. The pastor was able to arrange a helicopter flight from the main campus to Ocoee in between our services, just to greet the new venue crowd in person. We held services in the main auditorium, which seats 900. Kids met in the cafeteria. Preschool used the rooms we leased. Everything fit onto trailers, and was loaded in and out every week. It was a pretty good system.

But the model was not financially sustainable. The cost to rent the facility was just too high. After about 6 months we had around 100-150 people coming. Great numbers for a church start. But 100 people in a 900 seat auditorium feels empty. Plus, the auditorium cost 60% of the total lease. When the economy tanked, and we planned our 2009 budget, the church made a tough call.

We let go of the auditorium. The main service now meets in the cafeteria. Kids meet in a smaller room off the cafeteria. Since the room changed, the tech set up was scaled way back. Two of the three projectors were taken out (we now use them on the architectural projection on the main campus). Audio was dropped down from a line array to a basic powered system. A lot of things felt very different. The message which had always been video from the Saturday service is now about 50% live preaching from the campus pastor. The band was scaled down to save cost.

I finally got to attend a service after this change. Still about the same number of people. But, using pipe and drape, they close down the size of the cafeteria until the available chairs feel very full. The worship is just guitar or keyboard with two singers. One projector on one screen. Smaller sound system. Less control of light.

But you know what? Worship happened there. I was reminded once again that, while it is nice to have, we don’t have to use multi-million dollar technology to facilitate worship. That church service was like thousands across America. No moving lights. No video walls. Little wireless audio. The basics of tech were present to allow us to see, hear and participate. That’s it.

I like to use media and technology to enhance worship, to help bring people to a place where we meet God. They are tools we use.

We don’t have to have them to experience real worship.

How Much Work do You Put Into It?

I am working on a promo video that will primarily play on the web. there is a small chance it could play pre-service in the WC. I spent about 6 hours so far on it. It looks pretty good. Decent animation at the front, 30-second talking head promo, with animation and tag at the end. I had selected some music, but my broadcast audio guy asked to give the audio a go. He will spend at least an hour on it. Before it’s over, we will have spent 8 man hours on this promo.

My question is… should we have spent the last 2 hours? On the web, with FLV compression, will anyone care about the nuance we are adding?

I struggle with maintaining a level of excellence vs. a level of efficiency. I want it to be good, very good. I also want to make sure we focus on priorities. In the moment, it’s hard to know which is which.

On the plus side, the promo will be pretty cool.

Miss USA Pageant: Oops, wish we hadn’t asked that!

Let me get on my soapbox for a second…

In the Miss USA Pageant the other day one of the finalists was asked a question. Her answer wouldn’t surprise the majority of Americans who agree with her, or the majority of voting California residents, who agree with her. She was asked if she believed in gay marriage. Miss California, Carrie Prejean, replied “We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite. And you know what, I think in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that’s how I was raised.”

From the reaction of Hollywood and pageant people, I guess they didn’t expect that answer.

Rule #1 on live TV, don’t ask something if you are afraid the answer might not be what you want. She is from CA. Recently 51% voted against gay marriage there. There was an even chance you would get the answer we got. And, really, why is this a big deal? Does anyone really make their mind up about issues like this because Miss USA contestants share their opinions? No offense to these ladies. I am sure they can articulate their views as well as anyone, but no one waits for the Q&A section of the pageant to learn how to view the world. (Of course, we don’t learn that from actors either, or at least we shouldn’t)

So, why the reaction?

I did not watch, but from what I understand, the crowd applauded the answer. On national TV an anti-gay message slipped through. I guess I should not be surprised when those who work in media/entertainment cannot allow a dissenting voice to go unmolested. People are saying she should not have pushed her views on us. After several other communications and interviews, Shanna Moakler (who works with the Miss CA state pageant) tweeted “The MISS CALIFORNIA USA title is NOT supposed to be used to push your own agenda, that is NOT what pageants are about.”

Really, then why was there a question about gay marriage at all, then? She did not run out on stage and start making anti gay remarks. They asked her for her opinion, and she gave it. It would have been forgotten the next day except liberal minded folks couldn’t let an opposing view go unopposed.

Mistake 1- Ask question on TV you didn’t know the answer to.
Mistake 2- Backlash over a non issue.
Mistake 3 would be to not let this die.

If they seek to punish her somehow, or whatever, it will highlight the double standard many in entertainment have when it comes to allowing people to speak their mind.

How Would You Handle Anonymous Public Criticism

I ran across this article on MondayMorninginsight.com. An anonymous blogger was criticizing a church. More somewhat illegal events happen. Blogger gets investigated, and his identity is now known.

I work for a church. I have gotten all sorts of anonymous complaints. Phone calls and handwritten notes are most common. Any time you change anything you get complaints from somewhere. It is difficult to lend them and credibility if they are anonymous.

But what if the complaints are public, and anonymous? How do you handle that? it’s difficult to do biblical conflict resolution when you can’t go to the individual. I think the best way is to address concerns that are legitimate to the congregation, and ask the person to come speak directly with you, or a rep from the church. If a news story emerges, then answer honestly, and say what you can. When you are walking in the light, it is simple speak the truth. If you have made a mistake, own up to it. If it’s just a complaint, address it. Diffuse the story with the truth.

Don’t Cause a Blowout

So, I recently got a new bicycle. The family and I were riding along the West Orange Trail, and things were going OK. I saw an air station. I thought, wow, I should take this opportunity to add some air to my tires. They are OK, but could probably be better.

So, I pulled over. And added some air. I don’t know how much. I do know that about 10 seconds after I added the air, the tube exploded. Like, split into pieces, and was hanging out of the tire. Wow. One loud pop, and I was walking home. I was kicking myself. Why did I eel the need to mess with the tire. It obviously did not need air, and when I added it, the tube failed. Had I left things alone, I would have had much more fun.

As I was walking, I had time to think. Why did I mess with things? Why do people mess with things? I had not measured how much air pressure was in the tire. The tire was doing what it should do.

Why do we have a tendency to mess with things in ministry? I don’t mean when we fix things or improve things that we know need to improve. How do we resist the urge to tinker with what is going good?

Change for the sake of change is just as bad as doing something because that’s the way you have always done it before. Be careful that the changes you make are good and necessary, not just because you have the urge to add air.

The pump was there. I had the opportunity, but I did not have the need. Don’t blow it like I did.

New Look for Heaven Series

This is the first weekend of the new “Heaven” series. The first week we have author Don Piper speaking. He is telling part of his amazing story. The rest of the series features messages from our pastor.

heavenlook4 For this series, the team outdid themselves. In a short week (We had Monday off for Easter holiday) they broke down and reformed the trusses, and added two projectors. the results are very good. The new truss configuration in in half a starburst, with material billowing between it. The movers can hit that material or the stage. We did the wrap again, but placed it below the lip of the wall. The projection is using the Triple-Head-To-Go and an extra laptop for the far right image.

We had our troubles. It took longer than we expected to get things done. We had planned on using one more spare projector to shot up at the ceiling material, but that one has a problem with overheating. Also, we had sent an Eiki 6500 lumen projector out for repair, which matched the one we used for the far left image. It did not make it back for this service. The right image was made with a different Christie projector. It is rated at 6500 lumens, but does not produce it. It is older, and just can’t keep up with the newer Christies used for the inner images.

Still, it looks pretty good.

heavenlook1

heavenlook2

Selling Walkman’s in an iPod World?

Kem Meyer’s blog pointed me to this interesting article: Selling Walkman’s in an iPod World

So, apply this to Christian media: what are we still doing that no one is interested in? What are we “selling” that no one is “buying” anymore? I am not talking about message, I am talking about medium we use; the programs, the deliverables, the magazines, the websites, the services, the music style, etc…

Vote on Facebook Terms of Service and Principles

Facebook has opened the voting for their newly revised Principles and Terms of Service. These are the ones that the users of Facebook had the chance to comment on, the chance to influence.

About the Vote
On February 26, Facebook announced plans to make site governance more transparent and democratic. Since that time, users and experts around the world have been providing comments on the new documents Facebook proposed to govern the site and replace the existing Terms of Service – the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and Facebook Principles. Facebook has read the comments on these documents and has revised the documents based on this feedback. Now, please vote to let Facebook know which documents you think should govern the site.
To be notified about future proposed changes to the documents governing Facebook, please become a Fan of the Facebook Site Governance Page .
Voting Starts
April 16, 2009 at 12:00 pm (PDT)
Voting Ends
April 23, 2009 at 11:59 am (PDT)