Mediation (4-10 hours) – once the parties understand the intent of the Scriptures and the process of mediation they are ready to meet for mediation.  This also is a great time for the parties to have their pastor present.  Mediation is an organized process of helping parties be obedient to biblical principles.  Peacemaker Ministries call this the GOSPEL:
G =  Ground rules – the mediation is a place where the parties can work through issues in the context of a “controlled” environment.  The rules are simple and based upon the importance of using principles of biblical communication.
O = Opening Statements – the parties each get a chance to briefly state what they want to accomplish in the mediation.  They are typically coached to help them articulate to their spouse what their biggest concerns are.  This rarely involves all the real issues, but it at least represents what is important to the party.
S= Story Telling – each party is able to rehearse before the the other party how they see things.  Typically, fears, hopes, hurts, etc. are shared in a safe environment so that they are truly listening to one another.  Clarifying questions are used by the mediator to help communication.  The purpose of this time is to help the other party truly understand the issues, positions and even more importantly – the interests of the other party.  Parties tend to think that this is the time to garner support for their point of view from the pastor or mediator.  However, since the parties must agree on a plan, their goal needs to be to help the other party understand.  The pastor and mediator are wise to continue to remind them of this.
P= Problem Clarification – conciliators are trained and typically gifted to organize the information in such a way that helps the parties see the basic problems more clearly.  We tend to arrange them in the following grid:
Issues – those things that have become an interference that might be represented by a question.  Issues can be substantive and deal with a material decision.  Or they can be personal and involve negative emotions of mistrust, hurt or anger.
Positions –  issues have fairly clearly drawn lines as to what positions each party has.  When you can identify the positions you start to clarify the Issue.
Interests – parties too often assume why the other person has an opposing position, but at times they really do not understand the underlying interests – fears, hurts, desires, etc. that drive them.  By the time we get to this stage parties begin to see heart issues and are in the process of removing logs from their own eye.  When the logs are gone then they can see better and have a greater success in the next stage.
E= Explore solutions – the parties starts working as a team developing solutions which typically become counseling agendas or points that they work on with coaching from their spiritual mentors in their church.  Typically, personal issues are resolved by this point making it easier for them to develop a solution plan.  Brain storming with the pastor or other spiritual leader helps the parties see what resources are available in their local church.
L= Lead to agreement – in many cases the parties will complete the mediation with a written plan that they have developed.  This plan typically involves the following:
– a list of the Scriptures that convicted them to renew their thinking in certain issues
– the areas in which they confessed sins and granted forgiveness
– specific issues that were resolved during mediation
– additional issues that they intend to pursue in either their normal discipleship process or in counseling
– signatures of their commitment to follow this plan

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