Promoting Peace, Unity and Thriving Relationships

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God gives his people a marvelous promise in James 3:18: “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”

This “sow to reap” metaphor reminds us that peace and unity among Christians does not grow spontaneously. In order to see a harvest of peace, unity and godly relationships, leaders are called to diligently sow and nurture the seeds of gospel-based relational principles.

As relationships thrive, the weeds of conflict have less room to grow, which clears the way for stronger families, more fruitful ministry and church growth, improved work performance and productivity, and most importantly, a compelling witness as Christians live out the gospel in their families, workplaces and communities.

Peace Sower Teams are designed to support church, ministry and business leaders’ efforts to sow and nurture the seeds of peace.

These discipleship teams are modeled after the ministry teams that Moses established to help him maintain peace within the nation of Israel. Rather than exhaust himself trying to solve every conflict, Moses selected “wise, understanding and experienced men” to resolve differences and promote unity within the community. As his wise father-in-law predicted,

“So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace” (Exodus 18:22-23; see also Deut. 1:9-18).

Peace Sower Teams promote this God-honoring harvest of peace and unity by being both “reactive” (reconciling people in conflict) and “proactive” (teaching and coaching people to develop skills that actually prevent conflict). Ideally each team will include members who focus on one or more of four complementary discipleship ministries.

Peace Sower Teams are church-based discipleship ministries comprised of shepherds, instructors, coaches and conciliators who use the principles of relational wisdom (RW) and peacemaking to equip and assist people in their church and community to build strong relationships and resolve conflict in ways that reveal the transforming power of Jesus and his gospel.

Some teams train individuals in each of our four training tracks (see below) while others choose to focus on individual areas such as Shepherding and Instructing. Teams are free to expand at their discretion as the Lord opens new opportunities for ministry.

Equip pastors and other leaders with an introduction to gospel-based relational wisdom, peacemaking and conciliation skills they can use to strengthen relationships, resolve conflict an dpromote peace in their own homes and within the families and flocks God has entrusted to their care. Among other things, this training is designed to prepare a leader to understand and support the services that can be provided through a Peace Sower Team.

RW Coaches provide two kinds of service. Our conversational, skills, and life coaching training equips and individual to help others accelerate their development of relational wisdom and peacemaking, which strengthens their relationships  and improves their ability to “get upstream of conflict.” Our conflict coaching training sets up a coach to aid in resolving existing conflicts personally and privately by applying the principles of relational wisdom and peacemaking.

RW Instructors are trained to facilitate video-based group studies on relational wisdom and peacemaking through Sunday school classes and small group studies. Instructor training is designed to improve your ability to facilitate both faith-based and values-based study groups by leading interactive discussions, asking insightful questions and assisting people in learning how to apply these concepts in their daily lives.

RW Conciliator training will equip you to mediate disputes between others in a biblically faithful manner by improving communication and understanding, promoting reconciliation through mutual confession and forgiveness, and assisting them in negotiating a voluntary settlement of their differences. This process may involve conflict coaching, mediation, or arbitration. These processes are described in detail in Guiding People Through Conflict and Handbook for Christian

Phase One

To register an initial Peace Sower Team, a church needs to have three people completeRW360’s two foundational courses on relational wisdom and peacemaking, with one of those individuals also completing RW Shepherd training and two individuals completing RW Instructor training (see RW360’s Academic Catalog for details of our training courses).

This combination of training will enable the team to teach relational wisdom and peacemaking to its own congregation and to its wider community through the PACE Program, which is designed to promote outreach, evangelism and church growth.

A team may stay at Phase One indefinitely or add additional training and members at its discretion as the Lord provides opportunities for an expanded ministry.

Phase Two

A team will earn a “Phase Two” designation and expand its ministry to include conflict coaching and RW life coaching when two members have completed RW Coach training.

Phase Three

A team will earn a “Phase Three” designation and expand its ministry to include conciliation services when two members have completed RW Conciliator training. A team could reach Phase Three with only three members, but it is better to add members as a team expands its services. For example, a robust Phase Three could include five or more members, with some members cross-trained in multiple tracks.

Phase Four

A team will earn a “Phase Four” designation and enhance its effectiveness when it includes members who have completed the advanced level of training for all four training tracks. Some members may choose to go on to obtain certification as RW Coaches or conciliators. 

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How Do You Define These Terms and Skill Sets?

Relational Wisdom®, in essence, is the desire and ability to obey Jesus’ command, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart … and love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:37-39). RW combines the gospel, the wisdom-principles of Scripture and our God-given capacity for emotional intelligence into a discipleship paradigm for developing skills that strengthen relationships and prevent conflict (dig deeper here).

Relational Peacemaking is a practical theology for resolving conflict and reconciling people. This training is based on Ken Sande’s book, The Peacemaker, which has sold over 500,000 copies in 20 languages and is organized under four key principles (the “4 G’s”): Glorify God, Get the Log Out of Your Own Eye, Gently Restore and Go and Be Reconciled (dig deeper here).

RW Shepherding involves the application of RW, peacemaking, coaching and  conciliation skills by church or ministry leaders. This training is especially relevant to pastors but is also useful for elders, deacons and anyone else in Christian leadership.

Conflict Coaching assists others to resolve existing conflicts personally and privately by applying the principles of relational wisdom and peacemaking.

RW Life Coaching is a special form of “life coaching” that focuses on assisting other individuals to improve their relational skills in order to build stronger, deeper and more resilient relationships and to “get upstream of future conflict.”

Christian Conciliation is a process for resolving disputes between Christians in a biblically faithful manner. This process may involve conflict coaching (advising individuals how to resolve a dispute personally and privately), mediation (meeting with both parties to improve understanding and facilitate a voluntary agreement) or arbitration (a trusted individual resolves a conflict by rendering a binding decision). These processes are described in detail in Guiding People Through Conflict.

What is the Biblical Basis for a Peace Sower Team?

Scripture teaches that God calls churches to provide practical guidance and assistance to help their members build relationships that reveal the transforming power of the gospel (John 13:34-35). The first step in this process is to instruct members how to live out biblical principles that enable them to build strong relationships, prevent conflicts and be peacemakers when conflicts arise (see, e.g., Matt. 5:9; 1 Tim. 4:11-13; Titus 2:1-10).

When conflicts do arise, churches can promote reconciliation by providing members with coaching, mediation and arbitration services. These processes are commended throughout Scripture. Moses avoided burnout by training respected men to assist him in settling disputes (Ex. 18:13-27; Deut. 1:9-18). Jesus instructed his followers to seek mediation assistance from the church when they cannot resolve conflicts in private (Matt. 18:16). Paul urged church leaders to mediate between two estranged women in Philippi (Phil. 4:2-3) and instructed the Christians in Corinth to turn to the church to arbitrate disputes, even if they involved legal issues (1 Cor. 6:1-8).

Clearly, God is calling churches to be prepared to equip and assist their members to build peaceful relationships and resolve conflict in a way that honors him. This is exactly what Peace Sower Teams are designed to do.

Do Peace Sower Teams Need to Include Coaches and Conciliators?

No. Most teams begin with a single RW Shepherd and two RW Instructors, whose sole focus is on teaching relational wisdom and peacemaking to their congregation and community. A team may stay at this level indefinitely, or it may eventually decide to pursue additonal training or add new members so that it can provide coaching and conciliation services as well as teaching. Expansion is entirely discretionary.

Can RW Instructors Teach Outside Their Own Church?

Yes. In addition to leading small group studies and Sunday school classes on relational wisdom and peacemaking in their own church, Instructors can teach PACE seminars in their wider community to promote outreach, evangelism and church growth.

Can Any Organization Establish a Peace Sower Team?

Yes. Although RW360’s training is designed primarily for use in local churches, it is available to ministries, schools, nonprofits and Christian owned businesses that wish to establish their own in-house Peace Sower Teams.   

What are the Benefits of Establishing a Peace Sower Team?

As illustrated by this letter from a Peacemaking Team in Action, it doesn’t take long for a team to begin producing a harvest of reconciled relationships. This newsletter shows how quickly another church came up to speed and started to serve its congregation.

Peace Sower Teams usually serve under the authority of ordained church leaders to provide teaching, coaching and conciliation services that reduce the number of hours that church leaders need to spend dealing with conflict (see Exod. 18:13-27). A six-person Phase 3 Team will typically volunteer 120-180 hours annually and average 23 training events, 28 coached individuals and 6 mediations per year.

Whenever relational wisdom and peacemaking principles are sown and nurtured through these types of discipleship activities, churches can experience a harvest of reconciliation, peace, evangelism and church growth (James 3:18). For example: 

How Do Instructors Benefit From Doing This Kind of Training?

The greatest blessing of being an instructor is the joy of being used by God to bring about a harvest of peace, reconciliation and salvation in the lives of others, as described above. As instructors apply the principles of relational wisdom and peacemaking in their own families and jobs, they can also experience stronger marriages and better parenting, as well as improved job performance and career advancement

What is the Cost of Establishing a Peace Sower Team?

It costs approximately $1,450 to train and register a Phase 1 Peace Sower Team with one RW Shepherd and two RW Instructors. It costs between $1,100 and $1,200 to move to each of the higher phases of ministry (see detailed costs below).

Can A Peace Sower Team Save a Church Money?

Absolutely. Although Peace Sower Teams focus on personal ministry impact, they can also save their churches thousands of dollars every year. For Example:

  • As church members learn how to deal with relational tensions more effectively, they are less likely to leave their church because of conflict. Their continued fellowship not only preserves peace in the body but also maintains their financial support for the church, which averages $2,224 per year for a typical family in America (see Church Giving Statistics).
  • As church members learn how to model biblical relational skills and become more comfortable sharing the gospel with friends and coworkers, they may draw new people into their church, where they may put their trust in Christ, grow in godliness, and become new financial supporters of the church and its ministries.
  • The members of a Peace Sower Team typically provide between 120 and 180 hours of volunteer ministry each year. If this service was instead provided by a paid pastor, the financial value of that many hours of work would be between $5,500 and $8,500 per year (see Pastor Salaries in U.S.).
  • By relieving pastors from many hours of stressful counseling or conflict resolution, Peace Sower Teams can reduce the likelihood that pastors will burn out or leave a church because of conflict. Preserving pastors in ministry not only spares their churches the trauma of losing a beloved shepherd but also guards the church from the financial costs of searching for, interviewing, and relocating a new pastor, which can easily exceed $83,000 (see Strike the Shepherd).
How Can I Begin to Lay the Groundwork for a Peace Sower Team?

Begin by sharing this information with the leadership team in your church to get their approval, support and guidance. If they encourage you to explore this concept, you could teach one or more Sunday school classes or small group studies on relational wisdom and peacemaking to identify three or more respected church members who resonate with these concepts, have teaching abilities and are enthused about forming a team. If your leaders approve, these people could then start through RW Shepherd and RW Instructor training and eventually register as your initial Peace Sower Team.

Will RW360 Help Me Adapt the Peace Sower Team Concept to my Church?

Certainly! Most of the information you need to establish a team is provided in this document and its linked materials. Even so, our staff is available by email, phone or zoom to answer your questions and help you find creative ways to build a team that fits your church’s theology, culture and vision for ministry. You can engage a Senior Ministry Consultant right now by completing this Initial Inquiry for Information form.

Peacemaker Ministries piloted a similar “peacemaking team” concept during Ken Sande’s tenure as president, which led to the establishment of over 200 church-based teams. This newsletter shows how quickly one church began the process of developing a team. This testimony shows how quickly one of these teams was producing a harvest of peace and reconciliation: A Peacemaking Team in Action

These teams served under the authority of ordained church leaders and usually included at least one or two church officers. Most teams involved three to six members who volunteered 120-180 hours annually (combined) and averaged 23 training events, 28 coached individuals and 6 mediations every year.

Whenever peacemaking principles are sown and nurtured through these types of discipleship activities, churches can experience a harvest of reconciliation, peace and evangelism. For example: 

Registering a Peace Sower Team

When one person has completed RW Shepherd training and two people have completed RW Instructor training, they may register as a Phase 1 Peace Sower Team for $250. Thus, the total cost to establish a Phase 1 Peace Sower Team is approximately $1,450.[1]

Registration as a Peace Sower Team provides several benefits:

  • Detailed Guidance: You will receive a 100-page Peace Sower Team Manual that provides practical guidance on how to recruit, promote and manage a team.
  • Priority Assistance: Team members will receive priority responses when using the Conciliator Hotline.
  • Networking: Your team can connect and collaborate with other Peace Sower Teams in your community and denomination.
  • Iron Sharpening Iron: Team Leaders will be invited to participate in quarterly online discussions of insights, best practices and real-life case studies.

Resource Costs and Course Fees

A “Peace Sower Team Startup Resource Set” includes resources for each of three people to teach the two group studies required for a RW Instructor Certificate.

The Peace Sower Team Startup Resource Set includes enough resources to teach 6 small group studies:

  • 1 Discovering RW Group Study Set
  • 1 Relational Peacemaking Group Study Set
  • 20 Discovering RW Study Guides
  • 20 Relational Peacemaking Study Guides
  • 3 copies of The Peacemaker
  • 25 Relational Wisdom Pamphlets
  • 25 Relational Peacemaking Pamphlets

The combined cost of these items when purchased separately is $900, but when purchased as a set, the cost is only $500. Thus, this set allows 60 people to complete these courses for only $8.33/person.

The cost of books and course fees to train one RW Shepherd and two RW Instructors is approximately $700. So, the total cost for three people to complete this training is $1,200.

Cost to Expand Team

  • The cost to expand to a Phase 2 Team with two RW coaches is approximately $1,100.
  • The cost to expand to a Phase 3 Team with two RW conciliators is approximately $1,200.
  • Thus the total cost to establish a Phase 3 Team is approximately $3,750.
  • The cost to expand to a Phase 4 Team with advanced training is approximately $1,200.

[1] Course requirements and costs are subject to change as this program evolves and expands.