Leadership Conflict Resolution: Prophet | Priest | King

Each of us has an area of strength that most greatly influences how we make decisions. Earlier, we said these three modes are Prophet, Priest or King. [read How Mutliperspectivalism shapes Church Leadership and how you staff a church]

When we get into arguments, often, our inclination is to emphasis our area of strength at the expense of the others. It is valuable to understand this as you work with diverse teams of people in leading. If conflict arises:

A PROPHET will point out the authority of the situation to make their case. This authority could be their take on what the Bible says or other source. The danger is when a Prophet is more concerned with ‘being right’ than applying the authority properly. By this I mean that often a Prophet can be right, dead right. Being dead right is when there is no grace or thought of how it effects people impacted by the conflict.

A KING can tend to emphasize what they think is most pragmatic or what is the ‘most fair’ way to deal with the matter? This pragmatism avoids the cost of wrestling through what is the ‘authority’ that determines what should be done particularly if it is the hardest road to take. Secondly, the decision often trumps how it effects people because feelings and grace may not be accounted for in the resolution.

A PRIEST will emphasis the impact on people. Their concern is who (including themselves) is being hurt by the circumstance. Often they will avoid the ‘authority’ or ‘the way it is should be implemented’ if it causes too much emotional damage.

As with the other posts, most people will be a combination of two of the above. I’ve found knowing the people I am working with and where we tend to react toward does a great deal of preventative maintenance in our relationships. Before conflict arises [particularly if I am instigating it] I need to be in prayer that I would not run towards my common idols [KINGly systems] but think through God’s Word [PROPHET] and how grace [PRIEST] needs to be brought in the situation.

  • Chad Lewis

    June 25, 2008, 1:07 pm

    Your summaries are very, very, very helpful. We are currently putting this paradigm into our leadership development and learning how to better work as elders together.

  • Pete

    July 1, 2011, 7:53 am

    If multiperspectivalism as represented by the need for a prophet, priest and king is so necessary in church leadership why do you think it is that we see nothing of it in the New Covenant writings? Given it’s alleged importance I would think you would at least expect to see it represented in Titus and Timothy were subject of the qualifications of elders is given the most through treatment. However, not only do we see nothing of the sort mentioned there we see nothing of this alleged leadership structure in any of the narrative or teaching writings of the New Covenant. Or, perhaps I’m missing something or misstating the record. What say you?

  • Emily

    May 11, 2016, 12:57 pm

    I’ve been tracking with this Prophet/Priest/King leadership philosophy and wanted to ask how this applies (or doesn’t) to women?