In HOPE 6.25                                  back to home                        David Timms

Ministry Resource

Do you preach or speak in front of audiences? Take a look at Mark Galli and Craig Larson's short book Preaching that Connects (Zondervan, 1994; 150pp). This concise little book is packed with great insights.

Hope Happenings

  This year's Celebrate Hope Annual Dinner (October 15) will be at the Disneyland Resort. The keynote speaker will be Michael Reagan, son of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Michael Reagan is a popular writer and radio personality. His latest book, Twice Adopted, is a moving testimony of how he found his true identity in Christ. He and his wife, Colleen, have two children and reside in Sherman Oaks, California.


Hope International University
Fullerton, CA 92831


Great leaders know when to pick worthwhile fights and when to either pull out all of the stops or to back off. You cannot fight every battle that emerges on your journey to bringing the vision to fulfillment; you have to pick and choose wisely. Most of the barriers you encounter can be overcome by methods short of conflict and confrontation. Only those that are sufficiently significant to justify the risk and the expense should give rise to strategic conflict."  (George Barna, A Fish Out of Water)


Strategic Conflict

Conflict stalks us all. Whether it emerges from a clash of personalities, ideologies, vision, or preferences, we all experience conflict. However, few people think of conflict in strategic terms.

Our competitive nature - a sure sign of our fallenness - makes us bristle at any challenge or confrontation. Our need to save face or protect our turf produces a swift response - whether in a marriage or a boardroom.

For many years now, consultants and counselors have stopped using the phrase "conflict resolution" and preferred "conflict management." We may not be able to resolve conflict, but we can certainly manage it better.

Management does not mean the simple choice of fight or flight. It involves weighing the significance of the conflict and assessing the risk and cost of engaging in it. In other words, choosing only to engage in "strategic conflict."

Most conflict in our lives is not strategic. It typically emerges from weariness, worry, or hurt. Non-strategic conflict rarely weighs the consequences or takes a long view. It reacts rather than responds. It may act hastily or brood. It's the small (or not-so-small) stuff of our day-to-day that we allow to drain and de-energize us.

Strategic conflict differs greatly. We don't jump in; we step in cautiously. It arises seldom, not often. It reflects a cool head, not a hot one. It stems from principle not personal preference. It looks beyond the moment and considers the broader good.

Do you have a strained marriage, a soured friendship, a stressful work environment, or a tense church setting? We may find considerable help if we first determine the strategic value of the conflict.

Jesus experienced conflict periodically with the religious authorities of his day. Was he a rebel looking for a fight, or a revolutionary who chose his battles carefully? Like Jesus, we need to choose the hill we're willing to die on. Perhaps we rush too quickly up many hills with our spouse, our children, our friends, our neighbors, our colleagues, and our church community .

More strategic conflict might spare us (and others) from the common carnage. Perhaps it would spawn life instead of death.



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David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board of the institution. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.

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