Minister Dianne Mason, J.D. is a certified Christian Conciliator and the president of One Accord Reconciliation Services. In this brief article, she addresses the problem of church conflict and the lack of training for pastors to handle it. She provides an overview of the ministry of reconciliation, “a biblically based, transformative dispute resolution process, [involving] a mutually selected, impartial third person who coaches and facilitates discussion between parties in dispute to reach a God-glorifying solution to the conflict.” Based in Matthew 18, Mason’s process outlines the benefits and the steps of mediation, ending with a caution about disputes that should not be handled in mediation, and a recommendation about when to involve an outside mediator. Arbitration is mentioned as the process to be used when mediation fails. This article will be helpful to evangelical and African American congregations seeking a strong biblical approach to resolving conflict. It is also useful in understanding the principles behind mediation and arbitration.
Reviewed by Wendy McCormick