Peace Sower Teams™
James 3:18 “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”
Peace Sower Teams™ are designed to fulfill the promise of James 3:18: “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”
This “sow to reap” metaphor reminds us that the more diligently we sow and nurture God’s relational principles, especially the gospel itself, the more we will see a harvest of peace, unity and godly relationships in our churches, ministries, schools and businesses.
Peace Sower Teams promote this harvest through a discipleship process in which they equip and assist others to live out the gospel by applying the principles of relational wisdom and biblical peacemaking in their daily lives.
These teams may be formed in churches, ministries, businesses, schools, military bases and other organizations, and typically include three or more individuals who have been trained to serve as volunteer presenters, coaches and conciliators.
Thriving Relationships = Less Conflict
As Peace Sower Teams teach and apply God’s relational principles, relationships are more likely to thrive, leaving less room for the weeds of conflict to grow. Thriving relationships open the way for stronger families, more fruitful ministry and church growth, improved work performance and, most importantly, a more compelling witness as Christians live out the gospel of peace in their families, workplaces, ministries and communities.
Peace Sower Teams promote this God-honoring harvest 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 three complementary discipleship ministries.
provide ongoing training in relational wisdom and biblical peacemaking through Sunday school classes, seminars and small group studies. They also provide regular reminders of these concepts through social media and personal testimonies. They can also use RW360’s “values-based” resources to increase community engagement and promote evangelism and church growth by making presentations on relational wisdom and conflict resolution in local businesses, nonprofits, schools and other secular settings.
provide RW skills coaching (assisting individuals to accelerate the development of key relational skills, thereby developing stronger relationships and “getting upstream of conflict”) and conflict coaching (assisting individuals to apply the principles of relational wisdom and biblical peacemaking to resolve an existing conflict personally and privately). A key goal of this ministry is to help people learn how to prevent conflict or resolve it on their own, thereby reducing the amount of crisis marriage counseling that many pastors face on a regular basis.
are available to mediate conflicts between people who are not able to resolve a conflict on their own. The conciliation process may involve conflict coaching (advising individuals how to resolve a dispute personally and privately), mediation (meeting with both parties to promote reconciliation and facilitate a voluntary agreement; see Matt. 18:15-16) or arbitration (a trusted individual resolves a conflict by rendering a binding decision; see 1 Cor. 6:1-7). These processes are described in detail in Guiding People through Conflict.
A Harvest of Peace and Evangelism
A preliminary version of this team concept has been piloted by over 200 churches. These teams typically included five members and averaged 23 training events, 28 coached individuals and 6 mediations every year. This discipleship activity usually involved 180-240 hours of volunteer ministry per year and produced a harvest of relational benefits, including:
- Hundreds of church members learned relational skills that strengthened their friendships, marriages and workplace relationships and enabled them to resolve differences with others before they grew into major conflicts or resulted in member departures.
- Married couples were enabled to address relational issues before they required extensive pastoral counseling or resulted in divorce.
- As Christians learned how to relate to others in biblically faithful ways, they developed a more compelling witness for Christ and saw more opportunities to share the gospel (John 13:35).
- Evangelism and church growth were further enhanced as team members went out into their communities and provided introductory training sessions on relational wisdom and peacemaking in local businesses, nonprofits and schools, as illustrated by these testimonies.
- Pastors were spared from many hours of counseling and conflict resolution, which allowed them to devote more time to their preaching ministry and to nurturing their own families, while also guarding them from burnout (see Exodus18:13-26; Deut. 1:9-18; Acts 6:1-7; see also Strike the Shepherd).
Training Costs and Savings
RW360 is currently developing a new generation of training resources that integrate the principles of relational wisdom, peacemaking, coaching and Christian conciliation. To make this training easily affordable to Peace Sower Teams, it will be accessible through online courses and web-based practicums (practice role-plays with personal evaluations), eliminating the need to travel for training. These new courses are described in detail on our Advanced Training and Certification page.
The final costs for this training have not been firmly established, but at this time we estimate that training costs will be around $450 for an RW Presenter, $1,050 for an RW Coach, $1,900 for an RW Conciliator, or $5,500 for a full Peace Sower Team that includes one RW Presenter, three RW Coaches and one RW Conciliator. (During their training, they will have led at least 50 people through RW group studies.) We recommend that churches pay 50% of Peace Sower Team training costs (~$2,750) and individual team members pay the balance of their own training costs.
Even if a church decides to cover the entire cost of training a team, this expense can be more than recovered through three spin-off benefits that are often produced by a Peace Sower Team:
- As church members learn how to deal with relational tensions more effectively, they are less likely to leave their church because of unresolved conflict. Their continued fellowship not only preserves unity and peace in the body but also maintains their ongoing financial support for the church, which averages $2,224 per year for a typical family.
- As mentioned above, the members of a Peace Sower Team usually provide between 180 and 240 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 $8,500 and $11,300 per year.
- By relieving pastors from many hours of stressful counseling or conflict resolution, Peace Sower Teams can substantially reduce the likelihood that pastors will burn out or leave a church because of accumulated 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 amount to tens of thousands of dollars (see Strike the Shepherd).
For more information on the courses that are available for training a Peace Sower Team, please visit our Advanced Training and Certification page.
There will be a special Peace Sower Team training track during our 2021 “Sowing Peace” Annual Conference, which is scheduled for September 9-12 in Billings, Montana. If your church, ministry or business wants to thoroughly evaluate the benefits of establishing a team and come up to speed as quickly as possible, we encourage you to send two or three people to this conference, including a member of your pastoral staff, so they can attend multiple workshop tracks and return home with a fully-informed vision and plan for establishing a team.