A Guide to the Healthy Congregation Team at Saltwater Church

What is the purpose of having a Healthy Congregation Team at Saltwater Church?

At Saltwater Church, we recognize that occasional conflict is natural in any organization and that the difference between healthy and unhealthy organizations is not whether conflict is present, but how it is addressed. We want to address conflict in a healthy manner, and the Healthy Congregation Team helps us to this.

More specifically, the Healthy Congregation Team has three purposes:

To promote healthy communication practices within the congregation.

To consult with any member of the congregation regarding how to deal with any situation that has the potential for conflict.

To help resolve conflict between members of the congregation.

When should I contact the Healthy Congregation Team?

If you are ever upset about something or with somebody else at Saltwater Church - - another church member, a staff member, or even the minister! - - the best thing to do is usually to speak directly and personally to the relevant person.

However, many of us are sometimes hesitant to do this because we don’t know how to do so without creating a conflict or escalating an already existing conflict. Instead, we often either keep our thoughts and feelings to ourselves - - which makes sure they never get resolved - - or complain to somebody not directly involved in the situation - - which also makes sure they never get resolved.

This is the ideal time to contact the Healthy Congregation Team.

Who is on the Healthy Congregation Team?

Current Healthy Congregation Team Members include Saphronia Young, Debra Valpey, and Rebecca Bailey.

How can I contact the Healthy Congregation Team?

You can contact any member individually, or you can email healthycongregationteam@saltwaterchurch.org .

What are “healthy communication practices?”

Here are 10 recommendations for healthy communication practices within our congregation:

1. Recognize that conflict is natural in any organization and that the difference between healthy and unhealthy organizations is not whether conflict is present but how it is addressed.

2. Take responsibility for communicating your own thoughts and feelings regarding any issue about which you are concerned.

3. Assume others are acting out of the best of intentions until proven otherwise.

4. Don’t triangulate or gossip.

5. Also think thrice about using email to communicate regarding any issue about which you or anyone else may have strong feelings.

6. Instead, speak directly and personally to the relevant individual or individuals regarding any issue about which you are concerned. Speak from your own experience. Use “I” statements.

7. If you are uncomfortable about speaking to any individual directly, seek the help of the Healthy Congregation Team.

8. Avoid allowing yourself to be triangulated by others. Don’t speak on behalf of others. Encourage others to speak directly and personally to the relevant individual or individuals regarding any issue about which they may be concerned or to seek the help of the Healthy Congregation team.

9. If somebody speaks to you about an issue concerning you, practice active listening.

10. To the best of your ability, practice apology, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

Doesn’t the congregation also have a “Covenant of Right Relations?”

Yes, the “Covenant of Right Relations” was adopted by the congregation in 2008 and is also on the church website.

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