Meet the Registrar’s Office
November 12, 2021
November 2021 Newsletter: Meet the Registrar’s Office
November 12, 2021

How Does Peacemaking Take Shape
in a Shame and Honor Culture?

We tend to have a utopian vision of blissful congregations devoid of strife. Our reasoning is that if the early Church did it right, then so should we. But, has the Church ever done it totally right? The inescapable truth is that, where two or more share life, willingly or unwillingly, conflict is bound to surface. However, how can a church deal with conflict in a God glorifying way?

Over the past few months, our peacemaking team has been meeting with local pastors (from eight different evangelical denominations) who genuinely desire to see a change in their congregations and in the Lebanese Church. Previously, the team held most of the sessions virtually, but on October 16, they met in person. This time, they discussed how mediation can happen in a shame and honor culture rather than let time deal with it.

Based on Matthew 18, Bassem Melki, our Dean of Faculty and the leader of our peacemaking work, shared, “We found out that whenever two conflicting sides came to a pastor, the pastor was expected to be their problem solver or judge, and as pastors ventured to resolve the conflict, they unknowingly became part of it.” However, in a healthy peacemaking model, pastors encourage their congregation to resolve conflict on their own as a first step (interpersonal peacemaking), and they coach them on how to do it. If that fails, the pastors and elders work on mediation. If that fails as well, they finally resort to arbitration.

Bassem, who led the workshop series for the past year, explained that the sessions were not a training on mediation but discussions in which the peacemaking team and the pastors explored together what works and what doesn’t work in our culture. “What we’re doing right now is presenting a preferred or recommended peacemaking and reconciliation model that is biblical and applicable to our context,” he shared.

Throughout the meetings, the pastors acquired a new set of vocabulary that they could use to identify things such as the type of conflict, the tools for personal peacemaking, negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. More importantly, there was an openness to try new approaches to peacemaking. These pastors, who already had years of experience, humbly expressed that they were able to learn and evaluate themselves based on the experiences of one another.

Despite all the challenges they face while serving in Lebanon, the most encouraging thing in this journey is seeing how faithful pastors from different denominations are responding to God’s calling as they serve His Church. Pray for the Church in Lebanon to continue learning why Jesus said that peacemakers shall be called children of God.