When I started out in pastoring I had very little training on conflict.
Yet as the first decade went on it was the most needed skill I needed.
In the early days I was characterised by running from conflict. Avoiding it. Being defined and constricted by it.
I have learnt that the pain of quickly dealt with conflict is far preferable to long drawn out conflict, which festers.
Understanding when you go into a conversation that there is heightened emotion, and at times ownership, helps. Also understanding that you can give yourself time also helps. Questions don’t need to be answered straight away. So to that end you must demonstrate that you will revisit and return to the subject once you have prayed and thought about the issue. This develops trust.
It truly is the key skill any Pastor, and leader needs. As wisdom and experience come, as well as ability to bring the conversation back to the issue, and away from personal attacks, conflict can actually become your friend. It can be a touchpoint for growth and change.