Next Week: A HUGE LAUNCH – Don’t Miss It!

launchrocket

Next week I’m launching something that’s HUGE!

I feel like my whole life has been preparing me for this moment!

I know that sounds like an overstatement, but I sincerely don’t believe it is.

 A HUGE LAUNCH

For all of you have tracked my life and ministry….

DON’T MISS NEXT WEEK’S BLOG AND MY LAUNCH OF SOMETHING THAT’S BIG!

I’m so excited about it.

I really, really think it could be a GAME-CHANGER for people; maybe even for YOU!

SO WATCH FOR NEXT WEEK’S BLOG!

Until then, have a great  week.

With anticipation,
Ken L Roberts

P.S. Anyone want to guess what my new launch might be?  If so, please leave a comment. 🙂

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What Do You and I and Michael Phelps Have in Common?

michaelphelps

He’s done it again!

Coming out of retirement to compete in his 5th Olympics, Michael Phelps, at the age of 31, has won another 6 medals, making him the most decorated Olympian ever!

28 Medals

23 Gold         3 Sliver         2  Bronze

So what do you and I and Michael Phelps have in common? 

Let’s see…

I’ve never been to the Olympics.

I’ve never been in the Olympics.

I won a trophy in Little League once (it’s still in my parents’ attic) but never won a gold medal (or silver, or bronze).

I can swim, barely.

I’ve never been on the front of a Wheaties box or Sports Illustrated (or even a “wanted poster”).

I don’t have endorsement deals with Louis Vuitton, Under Armour, Visa, Omega, Hilton, Procter & Gamble, Subway, or Hewlett Packard.

My net worth isn’t 50 million dollars.

So what do I (and my guess is the same with you) have in common with Michael Phelps?

On one level the answer is NOTHING!

EXCEPT…

On another level we have this in common…

Growth and greatness are always the result of a lot of hard work over a long period of time.

 

If we want to “succeed”—let’s call it making a meaningful contribution with our life to our world—then we have the same thing in common; it takes a lot of hard work over a long period of time to do so!

  • When we see a gymnast become an “overnight celebrity” at the Olympics, we shouldn’t forget that the three minute performance of perfection that flung her to stardom was the result of thousands and thousands of hours of practice in the privacy of a gym.
  • When Michael Phelps becomes the most decorated Olympian of all time, let’s not forget that he logged hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of miles in the pool—stroke by stoke, day by day, and year by year for 24 years—before he reached his platform of “success.”

Malcolm Gladwell, in his book, Outliers, has described this idea of “a lot of hard work over a long period of time” as the 10,000 hours to mastery. Malcolm’s research shows that it takes approximately 10,000 hours of practice to master something.

It is true that some people have more talent than others, and granted some people have more opportunity than others. It’s also true that some people have had good “breaks” while others haven’t.

(Melinda Gates recently said that her husband Bill, in starting Microsoft and becoming one of the richest men in the world, just “happened to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right idea.” )

But, when it comes right down to it, what we put our efforts toward over a long period of time determines who we become and what we accomplish.

In fact, in a recent interview Phelps emphatically stated, “Swimming has been my life for 24 years.”

So let me ask you,

“What are you giving your life to?” AND  “What are you giving your life for?”

In the end, you and I and Michael Phelps are the same.

If I can assist you in finding and fulfilling your dreams, I’d love to help:

Still Leaning Into My Dreams & Helping Others Do The Same,
Ken L Roberts

 

Photo by Agencia Brasil, licensed under CC-BY-3.0 BR

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4 Easy Steps To Become Like Jesus (REALLY?!)

cheesyjesus

Okay, now that I’ve got your attention with my over-the-top title, let me make two disclaimers.

  • There really aren’t 4 easy steps to become like Jesus. If there were, I would turn this blog into a book and sale a gazillion copies.
  • I’m not a saint (just ask my wife), but I do have a deep desire to become more and more like Christ and to help other followers of Jesus do the same.

HOWEVER, I DID CHOOSE THIS
OVER-THE-TOP TITLE FOR TWO REASONS.

First, I chose this title to highlight the reality that in most segments of today’s Church we have lowered the expectation that we can even become like Jesus.

To some, the assertion that we can become like Jesus seems outrageous or even blasphemous.

As one of my mentors has written,

Many Christians today don’t take the actual person of Jesus nor his way or life or his actual words, seriously. This is primarily because we have relegated our Christian faith as a body of dogma or doctrine to be believed, and sometimes obeyed, instead of life in the kingdom of God, opened to us through the person of Jesus, to be lived!

Another reason we don’t take the actual life of Jesus seriously in our Christian faith is because we don’t see his words or his ways as relevant to our actual everyday life. Unfortunately, the lack of response to Jesus’ words and ways account for two things in today’s faulty expression of Christianity. One, it accounts for the weakened effect of Christianity in our world, and two it accounts for the practical irrelevance of Christian faith to individual character development, and overall personal sanity and well-being.

Could it be that what we are teaching and how we are teaching it, is the exact cause of the weakness found in the lives of individual Christians and the overall life of the church?
– Dallas Willard 

Second, I chose this title because not only are very few of us being challenged to become like Jesus, even fewer of us are being given practical instructions in how to become like Him.

Sure, we’re given a lot of instruction about the bible, theology, the Christian life, and our spiritual growth (and that’s a good thing!). But very, very few churches have a clear and concise body of content that’s connected to a proven and practical process that helps people move in a sequential direction toward becoming more and more like Christ.

Growing up in the church, it always bothered me to be challenged to do something – be a better person, don’t do this, do that, stop doing this, start doing that – without being given the specific instructions on how to do it.  Being challenged to change is a legitimate part of our spiritual journey, but when we are challenged to do something without the instruction in how to do it, this usually only breeds frustration or discouragement, which then often leads to further futility  (“Why try?”) or hypocrisy ( “I’ll just act like I’ve changed”). We need more practical instruction in HOW to become like Jesus.

What do you think?

I really want to start a dialogue on this incredibly important topic, so I’d love to get your input. How would you respond to the three questions:

  • Do you believe we can become more and more like Jesus? (Yes or No)
  • Do you believe there are some very practical steps that can help us become like Jesus? (Yes or No)
  • Do you have the content and a proven framework that would help you move in sequential steps toward becoming more and more like Christ? (Yes or No)

Please leave a comment.

Becoming Like Jesus (Trying),
Ken L Roberts

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Photo by elvissa (cropped), licensed under CC BY 2.0

A Life-Purpose: 2 Easy Ways to Discover Yours

I heard a statistic a few months back that was disturbing to me.

I was watching a video and the trainer on this particular video said, Studies show that only one in ten people know what they want out of life.”

I thought I heard her wrong, so I rewound the video and listened again; yep that’s what she said…

“Only one in ten people know what they want out of life.”

To me that’s a very disturbing statistic.

Life is hard enough even when you know your purpose; I can’t imagine trying to go through life without one.  Yet I find so many people do. So many live by just reacting to all that life throws at them, or they get stuck in a routine that’s taking them nowhere except to a fast-approaching dead-end.

What is a life-purpose?

There is a lot of confusion over what a life-purpose is. So in this short blog I’d like to try to define what a life-purpose is (and in a follow up blog I’ll discuss why it’s so important to have one).

I would propose that a person’s life-purpose is made up of two interrelated parts.

The first part of a person’s life-purpose is clarified by answering the question, “What kind of person do I want to be, and am I moving in that direction?”

A person’s life-purpose starts from the inside and works its way out, not the other way around. We don’t start with a focus on external goals: how I want to look, how much money I want to make, what kind of car I want to drive, how high of an educational degree I want to get, etc. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with these kind of goals (more people should have more of them), but that’s not where defining and clarifying our life-purpose starts. Our life-purpose starts by focusing on who am I on the inside and who I want to become from the inside-out.

So ask yourself: What kind of person  do you want to become? What kind of spouse do you want to become? What kind of parent do you want to become?  The seed of who you are will produce the fruit of who you become and what you accomplish.

The second part of a person’s life-purpose is found by answering the question, “What do I want to accomplish with my life?”

I don’t think a person can accomplish anything they want to accomplish or do anything they set their mind to do. That’s the current self-help movement’s attempt at selling “snake-oil.” It’s a false promise.

I do believe, however, that every person has a unique contribution(s) to make to the world. I believe what we are to accomplish is determined by our unique passions, gifts, talents, skills, temperament, and life-experiences. When a person does their homework to more fully discover who they are in these areas that I’ve just stated above, that’s when a picture of what a person is uniquely designed to fulfill more clearly comes into focus.

So if time or money were no limit, what does your heart and your head say that you want to accomplish with this short life you have to live?

Add these two parts together and this will give you a basic direction toward your intentional purpose in life. You probably won’t accomplish everything you want to accomplish or totally become the person you want to become, and there will be some 10- to 15-degree readjustments along the way, but you will at least have your own defined North Star to keep moving toward, and if over time you continue step by step to move in that general direction, you will live a life of greater intentionality, greater purpose,  and greater fruitfulness and fulfillment.

My Life-Purpose Statement:

At this stage in my life (I just turned 59) my life’s-purpose has come down to this One Thing:

I want to be an authentic follower of Jesus Christ who lives a faithful, fruitful, and fulfilling life
and through my pastoring, speaking, writing, and coaching help others do the same.

If you’re one of the nine out of ten who don’t know what you want out of life, I hope you’ll do the necessary work to find your life’s purpose and by doing so help change that disturbing statistic.

Living With Purpose,

Ken L Roberts

Please leave a comment: I’d love to hear from! On a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being highest) how would you rate yourself in living your life with intentionality and from a clear life-purpose?

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What Do You See For 2016? (It’s a crucial question!)

helenkeller

Who you become and what you will accomplish in 2016 (and beyond), in a great degree is determined by what you see.

So let me ask you, “What do you see for yourself in 2016?”

Think about it. Almost everything is first created in the invisible realm and then brought into the natural realm.

For example, consider a building.

First an architect gets input from his client with some general ideas about what the building should look like and how the building should function. Then the architect takes these ideas and works out the design in his head. He first “sees it.” It isn’t a reality yet. First it’s a vision, an idea, a picture in someone’s head.

Then the architect sketches the drawing, gets more input from his client, redraws the drawings, and finalizes the blueprints. Once the blueprints are finished, a construction company is hired and it becomes their job to make the vision a reality. The builders will use brick and mortar, steel beams and wood studs, drywall and paint, carpet and lights to bring the architect’s drawing into reality. What was once an idea in someone’s head—a vision—becomes a something that we can now see and touch.

But it started as a vision.

The same is true for us. Before we can build and live a life that counts, before we can have a meaningful and purposeful life—we first have to see it.

Consider these examples.

  • In 1774, John Adams said, “Someday I see a union of 13 states—a new nation, independent from the Parliament of the King of England.”
  • In the late 1800’s, the Wright Brothers saw a day when people would fly through the air. Ten years later, the Kittyhawk lifted off a sandy beach in North Carolina.
  • Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, in essence, said, “I see a day when people are no longer judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
  • Peter Jackson, the director of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, said that he first saw every scene in his mind and then worked it out with sets, actors, and special effects.
  • Helen Keller thought vision was so important that she once said, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision!” Wow.

So, “What do you see?”

What’s the vision you have for your life, your marriage, your children, your health, your finances, and your career? How you answer this question will set in motion the direction you go in 2016, and the direction you go will determine who you become and what you accomplish.

So let me ask you again, “What do you see for yourself in 2016?”

My Offer To Help  It really is my hope that you are building and living a life that counts. So, as a way to help, below are two services I want to offer you.

Committed to moving ahead in 2016,

 Ken L Roberts

PS. I really hope you have a great 2016. Please leave a comment below and let me know, “What do you see for yourself in 2016?” I’d love to hear from you. THANKS!

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Top 5 Regrets Of The Dying (Don’t Skip This Blog!)

"Top 5 Regrets of the Dying"

For many years Bonnie Ware worked in palliative care. Over the years, when Bonnie questioned her patients about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, these common themes surfaced again and again.

Here, in her own words, are the five most common regrets Bonnie heard from those in her care in their dying days.

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Wow! What strong and sobering insights for all of us to ponder and apply. Are we building a life that counts and will we leave a legacy that matters?

My Offer To Help  It really is my hope that you are building and living a life that counts. So, as a way to help, below are two services I want to offer you.

My Free EBook To get my free eBook, 5 Steps To Building A Life That Counts, download it here now: http://eepurl.com/ba0mC5

Life-Focus Coaching If you are interested in personal coaching for building and living a life that counts, then check out my coaching services and contact me.

Sincerely,

Ken L Roberts

Note: this post was originally published in Inspiration and Chai. Bonnie has recently released a full-length book titled The Top Five Regrets of the Dying – A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing.

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The True State Of Today’s Christian Leaders (And How You Can Help)

The condition of today’s Christian leaders has crested to a state of crisis, and like a tsunami arriving on our shore, none of us are spared from its impact.

That’s not an overstatement. The bailout, burnout, and fallout rates among Christian leaders has never been higher – and they’re increasing every day.

From my own experiences as a pastor and Christian leader, to the confessions of many of my colleagues, to the statistics concerning today’s Christian leaders, as the famous line from the movie Apollo 13 states, “Houston We Have A Problem.”

Some Disturbing Stats

Below are some of the different statistics from different sources about the state of today’s Christian leaders.

  • 45 percent of pastors’ wives say the greatest danger to them and their family is physical, emotional, mental and spiritual burnout.
  • 52 percent of pastors say they and their spouses believe that being in pastoral ministry is hazardous to their family’s well-being and health.
  • 75 percent report that they’ve had a significant stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry.
  • Clergy have the second highest divorce rate among all professions.
  • 56 percent of pastor’s wives say they have no close friends.
  • 70 percent of pastors say they do not have someone they consider a close friend.
  • 45.5 percent of pastors say they’ve experienced depression or burnout to the extent that they need to take a leave of absence from ministry.
  • 50 percent have considered leaving the ministry in the last month.
  • 50 percent of those who start out in ministry will not last 5 years.
  • Only 1 out of 10 ministers will actually retire as a minister in some form.

 Some Surveys

One survey reported that 70 percent of pastors admit they have a lower self-image after serving for only a short time in ministry than before they started out. And, according to an article in the New York Times, many clergy now suffer from obesity, hypertension and depression at rates higher than most Americans. This article goes on to reveal that, in the last decade, the use of antidepressants among pastors and Christian leaders has risen, while the life expectancy among Christian leaders has fallen.

Why YOU Should Even Care

"Staying Power: 5 Core Ideas to Sustainability in Christian Leadership" by Ken L. RobertsAs a pastor and Christian leader I’m not asking for your sympathy. (Maybe for your empathy – understanding – but not your sympathy.) It’s a privilege and a high responsibility to serve as a leader within God’s Church. But it’s obvious, and undeniable, that as the health and wholeness of the Christian leader goes, so goes the health and wholeness of the Christian Church. So for everyone who loves God’s Church and who is concerned for God’s leaders within his Church, we need to be aware of this current crisis and become a part of the remedy.

That’s why in honor of Pastor Appreciation, I’m offering a free download of my new book, Staying Power: 5 Core Ideas To Sustainability In Christian Leadership – until October 31st – to every pastor or Christian leader or to you to pass along to your pastor or someone in Christian leadership that you want to encourage and say “thanks” to.

Hit the link below and download your free copy, or pass this blog along to your pastor or Christian leader, and offer it as a gift to them.

Click here for more info on a
FREE copy of Staying Power

 

Serving Christ and His Church
Ken L Roberts

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In Honor Of Pastor Appreciation Month, Honoring My Dad

"Staying Power and My Dad" by Ken L. Roberts

Serving in Christian leadership is a great privilege, but it can also be very, very challenging! In this blog, I want to honor my dad, and by doing so honor all of my colleagues!

Here’s his story.

Dad was born and raised in a devout Christian home in the back hills of the Ozark Mountains.
Like many, when my father became a teenager, he drifted away from his spiritual moorings and wandered in the wilderness for a while. In his early 30’s, married and a father of five, Dad returned to God and reconnected with the Church.

Dad was a musician, so on most Sunday nights my father would travel with
a gospel quartet and sing in churches around the area.

As Dad tells the story, the quartet would show up at the church prepared to sing, and then the pastor would ask, “Hey, so who’s going to preach tonight?” Not aware that this was part of the gig, the guys would look at each other and point to my dad.

On many occasions, Dad would not only be the piano player and lead singer,
he became the preacher for the night.

These experiences with his singing buddies, along with his increased involvement in our home church, got Dad wondering whether he should go into Christian ministry full time or not.

I was only five, but those experiences still mark me today.

My dad had a good job. But now with six growing children to feed and clothe, the question of whether to go into ministry full time wasn’t an easy one. He really struggled with it.

Every Sunday morning he would go to the altar and “seek the Lord” about whether he should or shouldn’t. Every night during the week he would sit down at the piano and do the same. This back and forth struggle got so annoying to my mom that Mom finally said, “Now Eugene, I want you to either go into the ministry full time or hush up about it!”

So Dad finally “heard from the Lord,” or was it that the Lord spoke through my mom?!

Well, however you interpret it…, within a year my dad quit his blue-collar job, sold our little house in Michigan, paid off our debts, loaded his six kids, my mom and all of our stuff into a truck, drove us six hundred miles south to his first pastorate. A little Assemblies of God church in Savannah, Tennessee, Dad’s new church had eighteen people in it and promised to pay him $50 a week – if it came in the offering.

That was May of 1964. Dad is now eighty-five (my mom passed last October at the age of eighty-three), but every Sunday morning he gets up and drives twenty miles down the road to a little country church that he pastors, and stands up and preaches with passion and power.

Like my dad,
there are thousands of godly and gifted, compassionate and committed,
skillful and sacrificial, men and women all across our nation and around our world,
who faithfully serve Christ and His Church.

That’s why during Pastor Appreciation Month I want to offer my new book Staying Power: 5 Core Ideas To Sustainability In Christian Leadership as a free gift to any and all pastors and Christian leaders.

Click here to download a free copy of
Staying Power

 

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3 Important P’s For Resolving Relational Conflict

tennis-match

In an earlier blog, I offered 6 Practical Steps For Resolving Relational Conflicts.

In this post, I’d like to recommend 3 Important P’s For Resolving Relational Conflict.

I’ve been in life and leadership long enough to know that relational conflicts are inevitable. Whether its in our marriage, in a friendship, at work, in a book club, or our local church – relational conflict happens.

Recently, I discovered a principle for resolving conflicts that I wish I had discovered many, many years ago. I call it distinguishing the 3 P’s.

The 3 P’s

When you have a conflict in a relationship, I’ve found it’s extremely important (and extremely helpful) to distinguish between these three P’s.

  • A Philosophical Difference

Is the conflict because of a legitimate philosophical difference? If you want to go in one direction, but a person within the group you lead wants to go in different direction, the result may be a relational conflict. This conflict is created because of a philosophical difference.

  • A Personality Difference

Sometimes, however, the conflict isn’t over a philosophical difference. It may simply be a conflict because of a personality difference. I appreciate all the different temperaments on the personality scale. Yet, I find that I relate more easily to certain personalities than I do with other ones. This doesn’t mean that the person I have difficulty relating with is a bad person or a “difficult person.” It may just mean that we have different personalities, and that may be the reason for our relational conflict.

  • A Process Difference 

Sometimes a relational conflict can occur simply because we are in disagreement the way a decision is being made —  i.e. the lack of communication that’s being given about a decision that’s been made, the way a pay raise is being decided, the way something is being handled (or not handled), and etc., etc., etc. The conflict this situation isn’t due to either a philosophical difference or a personality difference; it’s simply a “process” difference.

Why Distinguishing These 3 P’s Are Important

The reason distinguishing these 3 P’s in a relational conflict is so important is that too often we simply lump them all together, or too easily we make the conflict more about the person, and that may not be the reason for the conflict at all. We too readily accuse a person’s motive or their maturity, their character or their competency, when really the conflict may be because of a difference in philosophy, personality, or process.

 A Personal Illustration

After pastoring for almost 35 years, it still bothers me if someone leaves the church I’m pastoring, but it’s much less difficult if the reason the person is leaving is because there is a clear difference in the direction the church is going contrasted with the direction that person wants or needs to go. If it’s a difference in our philosophy, so be it. It’s better if we do go in different directions.

The same is true with a conflict because of different personalities or because of a difference perspective of process. With different personalities, we need to embrace the person with their unique personality. That’s part of who they are, and we should accept them accordingly. With a different view toward a process, we need to go to the person and discuss the process. Maybe we can offer an idea to make the process better, or maybe we can get a better understand of why something is being done the way it’s being done —and then accept the difference.

Again, my major appeal (and why I think distinguishing these 3 P’s is so important), let’s not make the person the issue if the issue is really one of these 3 P’s. Let’s distinguish between the three, resolve the conflict accordingly, and in the process preserve the relationship!

I hope this is helpful.

And remember, “as far as it depends on you, live at peace with all men!” (Romans 12:18)

Sincerely submitted,


Ken L Roberts

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6 Practical Steps To Resolving Relational Conflict

tennis

Conflicts in relationships are inevitable. Whether it’s in our marriage, our family, in a friendship, on a team, in a book club or a Bible study—relational conflicts are inevitable.

Yet, many of us—no, most of us—have never been taught how to resolve relational conflict. We are left to our preconditioned ways in which our family resolved, or didn’t resolve, conflict. And for many of us that was either avoidance or anger, fighting or fleeing, silence or slander.

Here are 6 practical steps for resolving relational conflict.

1. We must go to the person

I wonder how many relationships could be strengthened and how many fracturing relationships could be saved if we would only do what Jesus commanded us to do; that is, to take the first step and go to the person. Jesus said if we have something against someone, or if we are aware that someone has something against us—we need to go to them. (Matt 5:23–24; Matt 18:15)

2.  Inquire, don’t accuse

When we do go, there is a proper attitude in which we should go. We should go in an attitude of humility. Instead of starting off by accusing the other person, we should go with an attitude of inquiry. Instead of making emphatic, accusatory statements, coming as both the lawyer and the judge, we should come with open-ended questions. Proverbs says, “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.” (Proverbs 18:2)

3. Distinguish the reason for the conflict

When you go, try to distinguish the reason for the conflict. Is it because of unfulfilled expectations, a legitimate misunderstanding, a wrong perception of a situation, or a clear area where the other person has “sinned against you?” Too often we lump all of these possible reasons together and just attack the person’s motive or integrity or personality. And that may or may not be the situation at all. So it’s important to determine the reason you are having the conflict.

4. Be prepared to give specific illustrations

There’s nothing more frustrating than when someone has an issue with you, but when you try to figure out what the issue is and why it is, the other person can’t give you any specific examples. When this happens, the discussion stays ambiguous:  “Well, I think you are just prideful,” or “I think you don’t really like me.” But when you ask them why they think that and they can’t give you any clear, objective illustrations, it really doesn’t help. So when you come to the person—still doing it in an attitude of humility and inquiry—be prepared to give specific examples.

5. In the conversation, and in the situation, believe the best

To believe the best of people is not our human tendency, nor is it the tendency of our culture. Just think how many radio talk shows, 24-7 news channels, Facebook posts, Twitter tweets, LinkedIn threads are kept alive by sowing suspicion, presenting the worst side of a situation, weaving in accusations, dropping negative innuendos, or assassinating someone’s character. This suspicious climate of our culture affects all of us. This doesn’t mean that we naïvely trust everyone or every situation, but it does mean that in a relational conflict we should at least start off by believing the best—until we have solid, legitimate reasons—to not believe the best of that person or of that situation.

6. Reaffirm the relationship

It’s very important that we reaffirm the relationship, because our end goal isn’t to prove who’s right or who’s wrong, or for someone to win and someone to lose. No, our end goal is to strengthen, preserve, or restore a relationship.

What if the conflict isn’t resolved?

I think of relational conflicts like a tennis match. I can only deal with the issues that are on my side of the net. It takes two to have a relationship, and it takes two to resolve a relational conflict. I can’t make the other person respond a certain way, or do something, or not do something. That’s up to them. However, I can be responsible with the issues and the attitude on my side of the net. Paul, in the Bible, put it this way, “As far as it depends on me, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18)

Is there someone you need to resolve a relational conflict with? I hope these 6 practical steps will help.

Sincerely Submitted,


Ken L Roberts

PS. Are there other steps that you’ve found useful in resolving relational conflicts? I’d love to hear them. Please leave a comment.

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