Every time I attend The Global Leadership Summit, I take away a gem that will be a part of me forever. The 2017 Summit was no different.
Last year one of the speakers issued a challenge to address unresolved conflict. He explained how untended wounds undermine our ability to lead, steal our energy, and hold back grace. I was struck by this truth, and that God had already begun to move me towards a reconciliation.
The crushing effect of unresolved conflict
Right before the Summit, I had mixed emotions about going. The Summit is exciting, but I dreaded an encounter with my former pastor. I’d left the church so abruptly, the reading on my “awkward-o-meter” was in the total danger zone.
So what went wrong, you might wonder? Conflict.
It was a conflict between my sister and someone else in the church, and the fact that my former pastor was not able to bring about resolution between them. It’s safe to say I lacked objectivity. My sister quit her position at the church when the stress of the conflict impacted her health. I was so crushed by her experience, I cut off all ties. I didn’t talk it out with anyone, or even shake the perceived dust off my sandals when I left.
Moving toward reconciliation
While listening to the interview with Sheryl Sandberg at the Summit, I was suddenly reminded of the remarkable leader my former pastor Mark Hricko really is. Before I cut him off, he encouraged and empowered me in my leadership, not as a woman, but as a fellow leader called and empowered by God. And when I was offered a position at another church, he released and blessed me.
As I sat at the Summit, the conflict in my heart and the hurt I felt began to fade.
Then I saw Mark down front. Here we go, I thought. Do I avoid him? Do I apologize? I decided I just needed to say hi. I marched down and simply said, “Hey, Mark Hricko.” I needed to drop the resentment, but not leave Mark in the past. We talked for a few minutes as easily as we always did. I invited him to meet for coffee the next week.
The ripple effect of reconciliation on my leadership
This reconciliation was God’s grace in action and it continues to have a ripple effect in other areas of my life. Sharing this story with my current boss and colleagues was freeing. It helped me lower my guard with them. My heart is lighter, my leadership stronger. My feet, if they were indeed ever dusty, are beautifully better able to carry the good news. I’m a better leader.
During the past 25 years, Tara Mulder served in a variety roles including high school ministry, evangelism training, and social justice ministry. Currently she serve as communications director for Grace Community Church, a 5000+ church in Maryland. She also freelances as a church consultant and meeting facilitator.