Graceful Conversations Are Mutual Respecting Conversations
Graceful Conversations are platforms that ensure that all people matter. They will enhance relationships and communication and support churches during the covenant process and in their missions to make disciples and grow vital congregations to transform the world. They allow us to:
- Grow together in holiness as disciples.
- Discern God’s voice through sharing insights with each other.
- Speak honestly, openly and respectfully with each other.
Some congregations may want assistance in learning how to have difficult, graceful conversation in the midst of difference prior to considering or engaging in a covenant process. GNJ will provide training and a process for how to have grace-filled conversations in which all voices are heard and respected and words help or heal rather than hurt.
Graceful Conversations uses the Circle Process, which provides a space safe for the telling and hearing of stories and going deeper in our own stories. In the image of the circle we have a visual representation of our interconnection and interdependence. In the circle, participants:
- Acknowledge God’s presence from beginning to end
- Actively listen for understanding
- Speak the truth in love
- Reject detrimental behaviors
- Make sure everyone has equal opportunity to speak and are freed to listen.
As part of the circle process a talking piece is used. The talking piece enables everyone to have a voice, including the quiet ones, often the wisest, and enables the talkers to listen.
- Speak when you are holding the talking piece.
- Listen when you are not holding the talking piece.
- Use mutual invitation — the last speaker chooses the next person to speak rather than a leader choosing to equalize the power among all participants.
- Right to Pass – circle members may pass if they choose but still select the next speaker.