Small Wars - Restoring Peace in Conflicted Faith Communities

I developed Small Wars to pass along what I have learned in more than 40 years of working in organizational / church and interpersonal conflicts and to train a new generation of peacemaking conflict interventionists. Small Wars is an intensive two-day 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, and videos. The participants go through the process (The Crucible) while they are learning to apply it, making the experience intense and personal, but also deeply embedding it into these new interventionists. Each participant receives a 100+ page detailed manual for later use.

Just so you know, my experience includes mediating hundreds of cases, including multi-million-dollar lawsuits, divorce settlements, workplace disputes, and so on.  I have presented workshops at national conferences of the American Bar Association on effective argument and the use of apology in medical mistake litigation. My area of concentration for many years has been analyzing and intervening in complex organizational conflicts, sometimes involving hundreds of people. My work in forgiveness and reconciliation practice and theory has been quoted in law texts, peer-reviewed journals in Europe and the United States, conflict management texts, law reviews, and other publications around the world. I am the author of the award-winning book, The Road Home: A Guided Journey to Church Forgiveness and Reconciliation (Cascade Books, 2013). 

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 me at

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:

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 Faith Communities. The stated purpose is "To restore hope and harmony where it most belongs – in Houses of Worship." 

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: 14-16 hours (two full days).

Content: Explores the psychology of group conflict as expressed through actions, conflict escalation modeling, and the human effects of prolonged 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.

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

Participant Cost: Determined by the sponsoring agency.