Everyone knows the Middle East is a region in conflict. But it’s in conflict not only in terms of the wars we see on the news. People in the Middle East are also dealing with the day-to-day interpersonal conflict that plagues all people, everywhere. And the reality is that the church is no exception. In Iran’s young church, it is vital for leaders know how to manage conflict well.
That’s why Elam organised a conference on conflict resolution for Iranian church leaders. Early in December, a team with expertise on conflict resolution from a church in Texas came to the Iran region to share their experiences and wisdom. One pastor-delegate commented that “the relationships between the teaching team were an example for us on how to treat one another with respect and humility.”
And humility was a key lesson throughout the week. The whole first half of the week focussed on looking inwards and humbly realigning one’s own heart in situations of conflict. On the final day the delegates were taught that reconciling with other believers before taking part in the Lord’s Supper is part of their worship. Many relationships were restored healed that day as pastors put into practice what they had learnt.
The leaders have returned to their ministries refreshed and encouraged to press forwards in unity, and to share what they have learnt with their churches. Healthy conflict resolution modelled by leaders can have a deep, positive impact on the wider Iranian church.