Accord Resolutions Services Inc. Mediation
and Related Services
[This document explains Christian mediation, why it matters, the secrets of its success, how Christian leaders can benefit from it, the scriptural principles employed, the approach used by Accord Consulting, the costs involved, why one should consider Accord Consulting as mediators, and related services.]
Christian Mediation Explained
Christian mediation is a means by which believers and members of the Body of Christ can resolve any conflict that has arisen between or among them. Without employing lawyers and the court system, it allows each Christian party to reach a mutually acceptable solution that pursues a God-honoring win-win outcome for all involved.
The result of mediation is not what the mediator considers to be the solution. It is an agreement reached by the parties with the mediator’s assistance that is acceptable to them. The mediator is neutral. His/her responsibility is to make sure there is clear and understandable communication between the parties, there is, as a minimum, an understanding of how the other party feels, what he/she perceives to need, and what they perceive to be a potential remedy to the situation. Often, the parties have not clearly thought these things out and thus the mediator encourages them to jointly address the issues and together identify various alternatives that would solve them. The result is that two (or more) parties are active participants in the process, making their own joint decisions and reaching their jointly acceptable resolutions.
It is not enough for Christian mediators to be trained and/or have experience as professional mediators, appropriately utilizing facilitation, and encouraging negotiation and other skills. It is also important that Christian mediators have a sound knowledge of Christian doctrine and ethics as presented in Scripture, as well as a sincere desire to see brothers and sisters reconcile. They need to be ethical and unbiased managers of the process regardless of their personal preferences for a particular solution, and be perceived as that. They need to feel and demonstrate a sense of family towards the parties (for they are indeed part of the same Family). Finally they need to get their own strength from the Lord and not rely solely on their own merits, skills, or experience. For all involved, including the Mediator, the goal is to honor God, re-establish heartfelt relationships, and protect the name and reputation of Jesus Christ.
The Importance Of The ‘Christian’ Component
As humans, we know that we are not perfect and relational problems will arise. Yet, the Gospel that we espouse is based on forgiveness and reconciliation. We therefore have no choice if we are to be right with God, we must pursue the ‘righting of the wrong’.
The problem is that we should not do that through the world’s judicial system. I Corinthians 6:5-7 tells us that. That Scripture tells us we can’t win that way. We may get a judgment in our favor but, ultimately, we will lose a lot in our spirit. The Apostle Paul gives us alternatives in Matthew 18:15-20 and earlier in the Corinthians’ chapter cited above. Scripture points out clearly the importance of resolving issues between brothers. We are to love one another; we are to be one; and we are to be diligently pursuing “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). Jesus Himself called for reconciliation between brothers to take place before worship can (Matthew 5:23,24).
Jesus also seems to call for a sense of ‘urgency’ with respect to ‘peace-making’ (Matthew 5:25). This is not something we are to delay or put off to a time when we consider to be right. Broken relationships have a way of harming the spiritual ‘saltiness’ as well as the ‘inner peace’ of the Christian. We at Accord have seen broken relationships between party A and B actually bring unbearable suffering to the loved ones, or the colleagues, of those two parties. No broken relationship is only about the main parties.
Finally, we at Accord believe there is no doubt the work of the Holy Spirit is stifled through our broken relationships with each other. Our testimony in the world is greatly impacted negatively as a result.
What Is Behind The Accord Christian Mediation’s Success?
Unlike the judicial system interested primarily in how the law was broken and who is at fault, Accord makes every effort to address both the rights and the needs of all parties, and to help each party understand and consider the rights and needs of the other parties in the dispute. The secular judicial system encourages more behavior similar to the kind that often got the parties in trouble (e.g. consider two people fighting over custody and/or a divorce in a court of law versus prayerfully considering what is best for the children involved and/or their own future). At Accord, we help the parties discover the cause of the problems between them rather than the focus on the symptoms, and then address that cause.
Providing opportunities for all parties to express how they feel and what they are concerned about, what they dislike, and to do so in an environment that will allow them to get it out without ridicule or argument, helps the parties re-examine situations taking into consideration the viewpoints of those that they are in dispute with. That approach, by virtue of the fact more parameters are taken into account, facilities the unity that is being sought and ought to be achieved between and among Christians.
Mediation In Christian Organizations
Even though most Christian workers and leaders are ‘called’ to serve God in the way they do, they are human and therefore not immune to broken relationships. That is true of Church pastors, elders, and other workers or volunteers in the local assembly. It is also true of Mission leaders and missionaries. It is true of those involved in Christian Non-Profits.
Core Values Of Accord’s Christian Mediation Approach
- Admitting one’s own failures before God and ultimately before others.
- Honesty that is presented lovingly and not with the intention of hurting, but rather with the intention of helping the other party know how one is hurting themselves.
- Reliability and commitment to seeing the process through to successful fruition.
- Listening sincerely and patiently to the other party or parties.
- Responding to each other in ways that edify and facilitate the goal.
- Caring for the welfare of the other party (parties) though there is a broken relationship.
- Acting just and accepting justice.
- Acting merciful and forgiving and recognizing or appreciating mercy and forgiveness exhibited towards you.
- Loving the other party or parties in the Lord.
What Exactly Will Accord Do If Called Upon To Assist
1. All meetings with any of the parties will be arranged mutually between those that are meeting, at a time agreeable to all, with sufficient notice.
2. The Accord Mediator will first outline to the parties the process that he/she intends to utilize and will seek to get the parties to agree to a pre-mediation document indicating their agreement and desire to reconcile, that they are committed to resolution, and possibly how they may celebrate such event (e.g. with participating together in the Lord’s Table).
3. He/she will then gather as much information as possible from the parties involved (This may be done verbally in private, or via a written format.)
4. He/she will then seek to get agreement on the facts from the parties and to identify any information presented about which the parties do not agree on.
5. He/she will try to ascertain from each party separately, their initial beliefs as to what would constitute an God-honoring resolution of the issues between the parties in order to have an understanding of the expectations and what is at stake by each. He/she will not share this information with the other party or parties.
6. At a time deemed appropriate the Accord Mediator will bring the parties together and have them start considering how their various concerns can be addressed and he/she will facilitate such discussions. Wherever possible, Biblical perspectives will be both encouraged and if not self-forthcoming, will be shared with the parties where and when applicable.
7. Hopefully, the parties with careful guidance and prayer will arrive at their own agreement. If that does not seem to be possible for whatever reason, the parties may jointly agree to seek the Mediator’s advice or opinion as to a fair and God-honoring resolution that may well be accepted by all the parties involved.
8. Any agreement reached between parties will be documented in writing and considered binding by the parties, keeping in mind that they agreed to it as part of a process involving the desire of the God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit that they be one as They are one.
A Mediation process may be terminated at any time by any of the parties involved. When that happens, it is sad and disappointing but we have to believe that God is in control, even if the party terminating the Christian Mediation is prepared to either allow the matter to remain unresolved or pursue secular solutions through the courts or other means.
How Much Do Accord Consulting’s Christian Mediation Services Cost?
Accord Consulting is a Professional Management Consulting firm offering a wide spectrum of management consulting services to its clients, both secular and faith-based. While all our associates are Christians, we want our services and with them, our faith, to permeate the un-churched aspects of our society. To that end and in recognition of the quality and services we provide, Accord charges competitive fees.
Accord takes a different approach to its pricing schedule when serving the Body of Christ. Regular fee structures are reduced by as much as two-thirds depending on the size of church or organization, making all our services affordable to clients from the smallest entities to very large ones in the Body of Christ. We would be pleased to discuss our rates for your organization, in person. In addition, the client group agrees to cover all of Accord’s directly related out-of-pocket expenses, which were spent doing direct work for the client, in keeping with Accord’s open and normal practices, declared prior to the start of any assignment.
Why Accord Consulting For Your Mediation Needs?
We believe that the success of any consulting assignment is largely due to the chemistry between the consulting personnel and the client or the key players or parties involved. For that reason, Accord is willing to hold an initial brief meeting with the client and/or the parties involved (in person where the location allows it or over the telephone) at no cost to allow them to determine if the Accord personnel are right for the task before them.
At present Accord Christian Mediation services are offered through both the firm’s president, Ken Godevenos, and through Dr. Stuart Lightbody, a well-known and experienced Canadian church and denominational leader in Canada. Both men have a track record of integrity and reliability and a sincere desire to see broken relationships mended and human hearts healed.
By using third party assistance outside of your own organization or church, you significantly increase the probability that any efforts to facilitate resolution will be impartial, without any vested interest to one party over another, and without having the Mediator’s continued “I’m watching you” presence on the scene once the relationship has been restored, yet always remaining available to come back to assist if for whatever reason the agreement falls off the rails. Using a third party also facilitates the keeping of confidentiality for the parties, especially within the church or organization and its immediate community. As part of the agreement, the parties will also agree as to what may be shared and with whom as well as what must remain confidential and from whom.
Accord is committed to helping members within the Body of Christ live in harmony and unity with one another in whatever way possible. We ourselves look to Christ and His Word to help us do just that in a way that is Biblical, efficient (all situations where parties honestly seek resolution, most broken relationships can be resolved in just a few timely sessions, usually no more than three or four), and effective (because all involved hopefully accept the Bible as our manual). At the same time, we are prepared, if the client prefers, to work with him/her to arrive at a mutually acceptable and alternative, customized approach that remains true to the basic principles of Christian Mediation.
Accord Consulting is capable of handling all types of disputes within the Body of Christ that do not involve either criminal activity or other violations of any legislation or regulation of any jurisdiction, both government and organizational.
Related Services Provided By Accord Through Ken Godevenos & Stuart Lightbody
Personal Conflict Coaching – Accord associates are prepared to work with individuals to provide guidance and encouragement to anyone who wants to follow the scriptural steps necessary to approach an another individual who is antagonistic towards them and help win him/her over to a solution that both honors God and brings reconciliation to the relationship.
Arbitration – Accord’s associates are also able to provide a more formal review of the incongruent positions held by two parties in dispute who for one reason or another are not prepared to engage in Christian Mediation, and after examining the positions, and considering past practices and the circumstances of the current situation as well as relevant common law, provide the parties with a Biblically based and mutually deferential, but binding decision for the parties to implement. This process, as agreed to by the parties at the onset, would have merit and the force of law, should the matter be taken up further.
For any of the above services or other ways we may be of service to you, please contact:
167 Pemberton Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M2M 1Y9, Canada