Biblical Reconciliation Ministry serves members and pastors of the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA) and New Zealand by encouraging and equipping sisters and brothers in Christ to dwell in and share the forgiveness of Jesus Christ in all relationships.
As God’s people, we live in relationship with him and experience his love and forgiveness in the divine service. Yet, from time to time we experience strained relationships with others in our family, congregation and wider community. Biblical reconciliation provides understanding, tools and resources that equip God’s people to respond to conflict in ways that are restorative and healing, bringing forgiveness, peace and joy in Christ.
Biblical reconciliation grows out of and supports word and sacrament ministry, refocusing and affirming God’s people, and whole Christian communities, in their identity in Christ and how they live their faith with others as people of the gospel.
As Christians, the freedom to be peacemakers, to seek reconciliation with our neighbours, is grounded in the forgiveness that is ours through Christ’s saving work on the cross. We are reconciled to our Heavenly Father through the blood of Jesus who takes away the sin of the world (Romans 5:6–11) and are called to share God’s love and mercy by serving our neighbours as we work through conflict, reconciling our relationships and bringing glory to God (Ephesians 4:32, 5:1).
The first steps into reconciliation ministry are our Biblical Peacemaking workshops.
Interactive sessions make the workshops refreshing for individuals, couples and whole congregations or church communities. Participants receive teaching and practical help to rightly apply God’s word of law and gospel in their relationships.
Who doesn’t experience conflict and strained relationships at times, even with those we are closest to? Rather than carry the burden of not knowing what to do, these workshops provide the wisdom from the Scriptures for God to change the way you respond to conflict as you live out your baptismal faith in all your relationships.
Understanding how to identify what is at the heart of our strained relationships, being encouraged by the power of the gospel, and being lead by the Holy Spirit in a lifestyle of confession and forgiveness will free you to bring blessing to your marriage, family, church and community.
I have learnt to be a person who forgives others! If someone asked me to forgive them I would pass over it by saying, 'That's alright!' But I've learnt that if someone is asking to be forgiven then I'm to actually forgive them!—LCA member
Caring with godly counsel
After gaining skills in personal peacemaking, some people wish to go further and learn how to walk with others who are struggling in relational conflict. Our Serving Others with the Gospel workshops are designed to equip you with biblical principles and practical skills so that you can walk alongside people working through conflict.
I am often helping young people navigate difficult relational circumstances, and many of the Christian reconciliation insights and principles have helped me coach them in a way that has been fruitful and constructive.—LCA youth leader
All Christians are called to a lifestyle of biblical peacemaking, but some are called to also lead a congregation or community and cultivate biblical reconciliation within their community. This training prepares church and school leaders to consider underlying faith issues as they lead people though decisions to reach a God-pleasing, mutually agreeable solution. Consider organising P.A.U.S.E. principle training for your church or community leadership team.
As church leaders, we all agree that we have gained life-changing conflict-resolving skills that have not only helped us in our roles within the church community but in our personal relationships as well.
—LCA Church Council member
We tailor congregational journeys to suit your congregation’s story. We work with pastors and people to provide teaching, resources and support as you grow and embed godly ways of communicating and working together as people of the gospel.
The spirit of the congregation was so poor – people complaining, walking on eggshells and gossiping about each other. Over the last two years, the spirit of the congregation has completely changed – it's friendly, happy. Most significant is what Paul has been doing here, and that is to focus on the gospel ... What does it mean to be forgiven and forgiving people!—LCA member
Serving in 'downstream' situations
As ‘church serving church’, we also serve by providing biblical reconciliation in situations where people and congregations have been deeply damaged by internal conflict. Specific processes and assisted conversations provide opportunities to heal relationships and rebuild of community with renewed hope in the gospel. Whole congregations and pastors gain a renewed understanding of being members of the body of Christ and give witness to the power of the gospel.
The LCA has been blessed to receive this ministry for congregations or parishes who are without a pastor and need to work through deep conflict that is relational and issue-based in nature. Interim reconciliation pastors are grounded in all biblical reconciliation skills so that they can walk with the whole congregation as God brings healing of relationships and grows people together in Christ. The interim ministry concludes when the congregation has been readied to receive a newly called pastor. In the next synodical term, Reconciliation Ministry will proactively work with the College of Bishops to identify, train and support pastors who can serve in this vital ministry.
We are currently seeking LCA pastors to undertake this training with the view of serving as an interim reconciliation pastor.