In his book, Conflict: The Refining Fire of Leadership, Jim Van Yperen states that leaders are necessary because of conflict (240). Though this may be an overstatement, it is true conflict management is one of the primary reasons leadership is necessary within any organization. A key to defining conflict is perspective. For G. Douglass Lewis, “Conflict is two or more objects aggressively trying to occupy the same place at the same time” (Resolving Church Conflicts). In my opinion though, Lewis’ definition implies negativity.
Conflict should be defined as differences or a “struggle” between two individuals, parties or within fractions of an organization seeking a particular vision, goal or objective. Differences are a part of human nature, and effective leaders must learn “that conflict is an opportunity to solve common problems in a way that honors God and offers benefits to those involved” (The Peacemaker, Sande). Yperen echoes these thoughts by declaring, “Conflict offers us the chance to grow, to change our minds and to create new commitments based upon the truth God reveals” (241). Leaders must view conflict not as a hindrance or horror, but as a natural part of existing with an opportunity to grow, being a part of God’s redeeming plan.