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Small Wars - Restoring Peace in Conflicted Faith Communities



Small Wars is a one-day intensive workshop for those who would like to be effective Peacemakers in working with conflict within faith communities such as congregations.


Small Wars was developed by Dr. Darrell Puls to pass along what he has learned in more than 40 years of working in organizational and church conflict and to train a new generation of peacemaking conflict interventionists. Small Wars is an intensive workshop designed to give conflict resolution practitioners of all levels an advanced set of skills to enable them to work effectively with groups of 20 to 200 and up. The techniques and processes have been thoroughly field tested.


Small Wars is trans-disciplinary, drawing from multiple disciplines and theoretical models in a field-tested process that is both powerful and compassionate. All of these are brought together into a seamless, practical and effective process that is far more than the sum of its parts in its power to break the chains of irreconcilable differences and bring former combatants into meaningful relationships.


The workshop itself is highly interactive, utilizing the experience of the participants, story, guided practice, visual and auditory aids. The participants go through the process (The Crucible) while they are learning to apply it, making the experience intense and personal. Each participant receives a 100+ page detailed manual for later use.


Small Wars was developed by Darrell Puls, PhD, a Peacemaker with more than four decades of experience in mediating conflicts within a wide variety of organizations and specializing in faith community conflicts since 1998. He has mediated litigated cases and presented workshops at national conferences of the American Bar Association on the use of apology in medical mistake litigation and risk management. His work in forgiveness and reconciliation practice and theory has been quoted in law texts, peer reviewed journals, conflict management texts, law reviews, and other publications around the world. Dr. Puls is also the author of the award-winning book, The Road Home: A Guided Journey to Church Forgiveness and Reconciliation (Cascade Books, 2013). His next book, co-authored with Dr. Glenn Ball,  is scheduled for publication in 2017 and is a ground-breaking study of Narcissistic Personality Disorder in the clergy titled, Let Us Prey: The Plague of Narcissist Pastors and What We Can Do About It.


Small Wars is now available to train Peacemakers in your area! We are seeking co-sponsors throughout The United States and Canada for Small Wars workshops. If you are interested in bringing this unique opportunity to mediators, religious leaders, and all others affected by the phenomenon of conflict in faith communities, please contact Darrell Puls at 

mailto:darrell@conflicttopeace.com or Dean@gather4him.net


NOTE:  Small Wars is being compiled into a comprehensive guide to working with conflicted faith communities.

Small Wars Manual

The first pages of the Small Wars Manual are available as a PDF. Small Wars Manual.

I will send you the full email on request.

Baltimore ACR Slides

The PPT file size was too large so the slides are in the form of PDF and can be downloaded here.


Target Audience: Mediators and non-mediators who desire to work with conflicts within faith communities across the belief spectrum. This includes mediators, counselors, therapists, ministers, faith community members and leaders, and so on.


Workbook – Each participant receives a detailed, sequential 104-page workbook for the workshop and future reference. It includes narrative, checklists, various charts, and an extensive reference list. Its title is: SMALL WARS: A guide to resolving conflicts in houses of worship from initial contact through forgiveness and reconciliation. The stated purpose is: To restore hope and harmony where it most belongs – in Houses of Worship. The List of Contents is attached.


Experience Requirements: While being trained in mediation is a huge help, it is not mandatory as the methods described and practiced here, except for questioning strategies, are not methods generally used in interpersonal mediations. They are easily learned by anyone.


Length: 7-8 hours (one full day).


Content: Explores the psychology of group conflict as expressed through actions, a conflict escalation model, and the human effects of prolonged congregational conflict.  Covers specific techniques of information gathering, pattern analysis, and application of findings. Takes the participants through a settlement negotiation process, but focuses more on the effects of the conflict and their desire to be a whole faith community again than it does on the “identified patient” of specific issues. It then provides a clear, sequential process for guiding the entire congregation through the settlement, peace, and reconciliation process.


Methodology: Highly interactive and uses the participant’s experiences and knowledge to create strategies for their own faith communities. I use some PowerPoint (no “death by PowerPoint”), videos, and real-life scenarios throughout. The goal is to give them new tools as well as new ways to use the knowledge they already have.


Ideal number of participants: 20-40, but it could be more. 


Participant Cost: Based on costs.