G.O.S.P.E.L. Reformation

This past weekend I attended a two-day, mediation-training workshop with Peacemaker’s Ministries.  Overall the experience was positive, hearing from mediation experts and having a plethora of case-study simulations to role-play.  As I appreciate Peacemakers adherence to scriptural applications in conflict coaching, meditation, and arbitrations, I have a hard time using their mnemonic tools that show an addiction towards alliteration, acrostics, and acronyms.

I am uncertain if this is a generational thing or just my bent towards critical thinking, but I tend resist such techniques, finding them cheesy and forced, therefore cheapening the lesson and experience.

One of the acrostics that I preferred reformatted was G.O.S.P.E.L., which unveils the order in which a mediation process should have.  You are asked to present this acrostic at the beginning of your mediation time to help show the process, but I can’t do it without “rolling my eyes.”  Peacemakers outlines it this way:

Greeting and ground rules

Opening statements

Story telling

Problem identification and clarification

Explore solutions

Lead to agreement.

My issue with such a device is that it locks you in to an order that really isn’t best for group ownership, nor provides a logical flow in conflict resolution (in my opinion).  It makes me wonder if the process was forced into these steps so they would spell “gospel” instead of it actually being the best approach.

As I agree you need a basic strategy and flow for mediation, I prefer to use more of a story or image-based device.  The word picture I have created provides the parties with a picture of being on a journey towards an agreed upon destination.  To get to this destination, the obstacles in their way must be dealt with, leading to an agreed-upon bridge.

You can see my reformation of G.O.S.P.E.L. HERE.


~ by Dave Smith on November 8, 2009.

3 Responses to “G.O.S.P.E.L. Reformation”

  1. I find that most acrostics come across as “forced” in my view. I’ve read too many books that get consumed with making an otherwise excellent message attempt to fit into into a some “cutesy” word or phrase.

    I know that for me, when being taught or teaching a concept that I prefer to have people think critically, as opposed to be forced into a formula. I’m sure if I had been at the seminar, I would have been rolling my eyes and working on a way to take an excellent concept and restate in a way that didn’t make it into a formula. For me, to take the word “gospel” and use it as the basis of a methodology for mediation is akin to to stating that a particular method is somehow divinely ordained. While the G.O.S.P.E.L. acrostic is certainly sound, I would never use the acrostic personally.

    I’ve always appreciated your ability to make me think, to guide a discussion or concept to a solution, without making it a hard and fast process.

    I’m not sure if it’s a generational thing, but then again, I typically don’t fall into the paradigms of my generation.

  2. You definitely don’t fall in the paradigms of your generation…or any generation for that matter Todd! You and Candy are very unique and have always pushed me to think differently…so right back at you!

  3. […] More thoughts here and here. […]

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