Defusing Explosive Meetings

by | Jul 23, 2017

?????????????????????????????????????Have you ever been in a meeting that was about to explode?

You could feel the tension building with each person’s comments and knew it was just a matter of time before the dynamite went off.

It might have been a conversation with your spouse or teenager. Maybe it was a staff meeting at the office. Or, sometimes most volatile of all, a congregational meeting at your church.

Well, here is a creative way to “de-fuse” this kind of dynamite.

Bill and Peggy White, two of our most active Certified RW Instructors, told me about a tense meeting at a Christian school in their community. About fifty parents were gathered together to voice grievances.

The pastor who led the meeting was a seasoned veteran—combat-tested not in Afghanistan but in his local church. He knew how quickly such meetings can escalate into harsh accusations and demands for termination.

So at the beginning of the meeting, he briefly summarized the problem they were there to discuss. Once he got agreement on the issue people wanted to address, he set forth one simple ground rule: anyone who wanted to speak had to follow the same format by answering six questions in a specific order:

  • Briefly stated, how do you feel because of this problem?
  • What have you done that might have contributed to this problem?
  • What do you think would please God as we work through this situation?
  • What steps have you already taken to make things better?
  • What are you now willing to do to help resolve this problem?
  • What do you suggest others do to help resolve this problem?

Six simple questions that helped people to become more God-aware, self-aware and other-aware by remembering God’s involvement in the situation, empathizing with one another, recalling their shared frailty, getting the logs out of their own eyes, showing respect and accepting responsibility, and by being solution-minded rather than attack-oriented.

Now that’s relational wisdom!

Try it the next time you’re faced with a tense conversation, whether at a congregational meeting or with two squabbling children.

– Ken Sande

Reflection Questions

  • How do these Scripture passages support the five questions listed above: 1 Peter 3:8, John 8:1-11, Matthew 7:3-4, Philippians 2:1-11, Ephesians 4:29? Can you think of related passages?
  • Without identifying individuals, describe a conversation or meeting that escalated into accusations and demands. What were the key relational failures that caused it to go downhill?
  • Think of a person who is skilled at managing tense or volatile conversations. What does he or she do that helps others to converse reasonably and constructively?
  • How could you apply some of those same skills in your life today?

Permission to distribute: Please feel free to download, print, or electronically share this message in its entirety for non-commercial purposes with as many people as you like.

© 2017 Ken Sande

Would you like to receive future posts like this? Subscribe now!

Share this post

Related Posts

A Cripple Walks, Leaps and Runs!

A Cripple Walks, Leaps and Runs!

2021 Harvest Report The COVID crisis crippled our live training this year … but we serve a God who loves to display his grace and expand his kingdom by making cripples walk, leap and run! So as soon as we saw all of our live seminars being cancelled last spring, we...

The Night My Father Died

The Night My Father Died

My mother passed away twelve years ago on Christmas Eve. She was totally at peace and eager to see her Savior face-to-face. Not so my father. He was terrified as death approached. In the last hours of his life, when he was told that death was just minutes away, he was...

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop