Have you had any "crucial conversations" lately? We have them everyday, or at least the potential to have them... Crucial conversations. Conversations where where there are different opinions, strong emotions and high stakes. Are you ready to face the hard conversations in a way that brings life and peace?

Much of the business world is aware of the book Crucial Conversations by Joseph Grenny, but it is relatively new to me and to many of our church attendees. It was important to learn about these types of crucial conversations because quite honestly, people who get things done and are effective are those who know how to handle them. 

As Christ-followers we should always speak the truth in love, and that just means you hold these crucial conversations for the purpose of righting a wrong, and also helping another person understand where change is needed. You speak the truth with the right motivation.

In a coffee meeting I had this week with some other young men like myself raising children and trying to succeed in their jobs, we found ourselves discussing the ups and downs of parenting. Some days fathers feel like they have really connected with their children. You feel like you have leaned in for a difficult moment that could really change a child's trajectory in the future. Similarly, a moment of conflict with  a spouse can sometimes takes months to repair. We committed to praying as we left for work for one another in the coming week, and the crucial conversations we might face.

Christian author Mary Whelchel says: "Every crucial conversation needs to be surrounded with prayer. If you know in advance that such a conversation will occur, obviously you have time to pray specifically about it. If not, that's when you send up emergency prayers for that conversation."

Often times, broken relationships need to be, and can only be restored with some form of crucial conversation. After pursuing God's heart for the situation through fervent prayer, consider the following strategies from Joseph Grenny for navigating a crucial conversation.

1. Start with the heart - begin with the right motives
2. Learn to look - know where your own emotions want to run
3. Make it safe - build parameters that keep discussion from silence or violence
4. Master your stories - be sure not to hear a story thats not being told
5. State your path - share the way you experience the event in question
6. Explore other's paths - allow the other person to fully share their perspective
7. Move to action - Make a decision on how to proceed, even without resolution

How committed are you to finding restoration in broken relationships? Are you willing to lean in and embrace the crucial conversations? I pray that you are. I pray that our churches would be a place where this happens often. "The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just."  (Psalm 37:30)

That's a very good prayer for us when we're entering an emotional conversation—that God will enable us to utter wisdom and speak only what is just.

Pastor Milo