A Ministry of Care by Dr. Daniel G. Bagby

Pastoral Care Guidance for Deacons, Stephen Ministers, and the Congregation of River Road Church, Baptist

Principles for Handling Differences When Providing Care

  1. Differences in the ways we think, feel, react, and respond can be enriching and provide perspective; they need not be divisive.
  2. When expressing a difference, it is possible and desirable to focus on the issue, not the person with whom we differ.
  3. If we can offer an opinion or a point of view without feeling that any questioning of it is a personal challenge or rejection, we can hear different issues better.
  4. It is possible to differ with what someone says, while still respecting the person who said it (as made in the image of God).
  5. Some points of view are not “right” or “wrong”; they simply are different ways to look at an issue.
  6. How we resolved differences at home growing up has a lot to do with how we handle differences today: avoidance, appeasement, attack, capitulation, etc.
  7. Sometimes the issue identified as the “problem” is not the main issue—but the “presenting problem.”
  8. How we present or express a point of view will have a lot to do with how well it is received—understood.
  9. Choosing not to resolve or dialogue on our differences does not eliminate the discomfort or energy of handling the conflict: it mainly determines how we shall process the pain, energy, and distress in the relationship.
  10. Different people process differences and conflict in different ways: some want immediate resolution, some need to “take it away” and think about it—them bring it back, etc.
  11. Conflict occurs because people care about an issue—they are passionate—and involved.
  12. Conflict can be a way of creating distance, closeness, and clarity!
  13. Conflict resolution is often a long-term process, not immediate.
  14. Some differences we perceive are created because of assumptions we may make, issues we have not resolved, and transitions we may going through.