PeaceWiseHelp mediation

Sometimes, a conflict between parties has been ongoing for such a length of time or has escalated to such a point that private resolution between the two parties is not possible. In these circumstances, PeaceWiseHelp mediation may help the parties deal with the issues and reach some healthy conclusion.

PeaceWiseHelp Mediation involves independent third parties (the mediators) helping to resolve the conflict or dispute between the parties.  

This covers both the material and relational issues that are involved.

Download a copy of the PeaceWiseHelp mediation fact sheet by clicking the button below.

about PeaceWiseHelp mediation

how is PeaceWise’s approach to mediation different?

One of the major differences between secular mediation and Christian mediation is that much secular mediation tends to focus on ‘cutting a deal’ and reaching a settlement. This is often done through a process of positional bargaining. This can leave the parties feeling that whilst a deal may have been reached, much of the real underlying conflict, and perhaps even some wrong conduct of the other party, was left largely unaddressed.

Christian mediation is different. It gives prime importance not just to resolution of material issues, but also to the relational issues that normally are central to any conflict. Issues of wrongful conduct, sin and justice are addressed, as parties are encouraged to own their own harmful or hurtful or wrong behaviour as well as address the wrongs of others. But also principles of love, mercy and forgiveness are introduced into the process.

Negotiation over material issues will typically take place, but within the context of seeking to restore the relationship as well.

We seek to encourage parties to approach their conflict in God pleasing ways and to allow the word of God and the power of Christ to work to soften hearts and allow reconciliation to occur.

PeaceWise strongly supports the role of the local church in helping Christians respond to conflict, and provides training to equip gifted people in the local church to fulfil this role of mediator between parties – see Matthew 18:16.

tell me more about the actual process you use

PeaceWise mediators use a fully structured mediation process that has the following core elements:

G

– Greeting and ground rules
make introductions and agree how we will work together

O

– Opening statements
ask each party to briefly explain what he or she hopes will happen out of the mediation

S

-Storytelling
help each party to tell their story and hear the other party’s perspective

P

-Problem identification and clarification
clearly define central issues and interests

E

-Explore solutions
brainstorm options, evaluate them reasonably and objectively

L

-Lead to agreement
encourage and document things that the parties agree on and what they will each do

Click here to see the typical Mediation Agreement.  This includes the detailed Rules of Procedure which will apply in a PeaceWiseHelp mediation. (Please note that you should obtain legal advice before independently using or adapting this agreement).

The cases we’ve arranged have involved conflicts and disputes in workplaces, schools, churches, denominations, businesses, colleges, media organisations, ministries, charities, families and individuals.

They have spanned anywhere from two parties to twenty parties.

Some conflicts have related to recent events and others to events spanning many years and even multiple countries.

All PeaceWiseHelp mediators have done PeaceWise mediation training and use the Christian mediation method we teach. They are lawyers, counsellors, pastors and ministers, denominational and ministry leaders, business people, educationalists – and even one geologist.

We seek to use the most appropriate PeaceWiseHelp mediator for the particular case in question. This would include things like the PeaceWiseHelp mediator’s own experience and professional or personal background (which may include matters such as gender, age, racial background and faith context).

PeaceWise has found that having two PeaceWiseHelp mediators involved brings enormous benefits to the parties, and also provides accountability for the PeaceWiseHelp mediators as well. Therefore, we use a co-mediation model.

PeaceWise is committed to dealing with both the material AND relational issues involved in a conflict.

We don’t believe this can be done through a single meeting where the parties are brought together with no prior preparation and encouraged to ‘reach agreement’ in a limited timeframe. Such outcomes typically are short-lived and leave relationships no better and often worse.

For this reason, there are some features of a PeaceWiseHelp mediation, which impacts on cost, but we believe is more likely to bring about a more comprehensive and lasting outcome:

  • Our strong preference is for two PeaceWiseHelp mediators rather than one:
  • We typically meet privately with parties twice before the actual PeaceWiseHelp mediation meeting occurs, to help prepare parties to meet. These meetings make a SIGNIFICANT difference to the likelihood of a positive PeaceWiseHelp mediation outcome;
  • We want to allow sufficient time for issues to be worked through at a deeper level and not superficially.

Having said this, the following guidance can be given – but EVERY case is different and, in each case, a detailed fee estimate will be provided:

case establishment fee$357.50
case administration$80/hour

Number of hours depends on case complexity,
normally 3-4 hours for simple cases
PeaceWiseHelp mediator feesVary depending on mediator and nature of case
expensesat cost – eg. travel, accommodation etc

typical total case costs, based on two PeaceWiseHelp mediators

Vary depending on PeaceWiseHelp mediator engaged and nature of case, but normally each PeaceWiseHelp mediator will have an hourly fee of between $60 to $120.

cases involving two partiesBetween $5,500 and $7,500 + expenses
cases involving two to four partiesBetween $7,500 to $11,500 + expenses
multi-party and complex casesBetween $11,500 and $26,500 + expenses

PeaceWise is highly conscious of seeking to keep the mediation as affordable as possible whilst also not cutting corners simply to save costs, which may reduce the likelihood of obtaining lasting positive outcomes.

A PeaceWiseHelp mediation involves significant administrative and PeaceWiseHelp mediator time commitment.

  • litigation (always much more costly, with great uncertainty of outcome and little likelihood of relational issues being addressed and typically not consistent with Paul’s teaching in 1 Cor 6:1-8)* or
  • doing nothing (with consequences such as ongoing relational or organisational damage, often including significant financial and health implications as well).

  • will the conflict always get resolved?

    We have seen many amazing reconciliations where God has worked to restore parties’ relationships in miraculous ways.

    At other times, more limited progress may be made. For example, parties may still part company (e.g. a workplace scenario), however the parting is on a much better basis than if no PeaceWiseHelp mediation had happened. Sometimes, one or more parties’ hearts remain hurt or prideful and so very hard, and little real progress can be made at all.

    Whilst PeaceWise can never guarantee the result of a PeaceWiseHelp mediation, our process does allow parties to hear each other, address both material and relational issues in a structured and safe way, and open the possibility of issues being addressed constructively rather than through a ‘win/lose’ process.

  • who are PeaceWiseHelp mediators?

    PeaceWiseHelp mediators:
    • are mature and caring Christians;
    • will be using the Bible and praying during the PeaceWiseHelp mediation process;
    • will be encouraging and challenging parties to reflect on their attitudes and
    behaviour (and for those who consider themselves Christians – what the Bible/God has to say about the conflict).

    Their professional experience is diverse – they may be teachers, nurses, counsellors, ministers, lawyers, geologists, denominational leaders, mission leaders, accountants, architects or have any many of other backgrounds.

    Except for our CEO, PeaceWise does not employ any PeaceWiseHelp mediators but rather appoints them from a pool of independent contractors. PeaceWiseHelp mediators have all undertaken our training and any particular person is invited to serve if we believe that they are the appropriate person/s to provide this service.

    As our PeaceWiseHelp mediators are usually occupied in other vocations, it may take PeaceWise some time to locate suitable and available PeaceWiseHelp mediators after assessing that a request is one in which PeaceWise can serve.

  • what do parties have to do?

    Participation of any person in any PeaceWiseHelp mediation service means they agree to:

    • prioritise the scheduling and attending of meetings amidst their other commitments;
      •complete any preparatory/homework in a timely way and providing this to the PeaceWiseHelp mediators when requested ;
      •seriously self-reflect on their own contribution to the conflict;
      • abide by the requests/facilitation/direction of the PeaceWiseHelp mediators and the PeaceWiseHelp mediation Rules of Procedure;
      •pay all the relevant fees (if not agreed to be paid by an organisational stakeholder/third party); and
      •complete an evaluation on the PeaceWiseHelp mediation process and the performance of the PeaceWiseHelp mediators at the conclusion of the process
  • I want to be trained in Christian mediation!

    PeaceWise is updating our PeaceWiseHelp mediation courses to enable you to develop skills in this area.
    Head to the PeaceWiseYou page of our website to find out more.

  • if I’ve done mediation training with PeaceWise, can PeaceWise help me get professional indemnity insurance if I want to work as a mediator?

    Unfortunately,  we can’t!

    PeaceWise doesn’t offer insurance, and can’t give any insurance advice. Whilst those who are appointed by us to undertake PeaceWiseHelp mediation work for us are covered by our professional indemnity insurance, our policy does not extend to those who might practise biblical peacemaking external to us.

  • if I’ve done mediation training with PeaceWise, can I call myself a “PeaceWise mediator”?

    If you do our mediation training, you will be able to use what you have learned immediately in helping others in informal mediation contexts – e.g. church, work, family, friends. For certain people who do our training and are identified by us as having particular gifts and aptitude, we may raise with you the possibility of being involved to observe PeaceWiseHelp mediation or ultimately to mediate as a PeaceWiseHelp mediator.

    However, if the situation is only that you have attended our training, then to say “I’m PeaceWise trained” or “I’m a PeaceWise mediator” may possibly give people the wrong impression that you are in some way accredited by PeaceWise, or that a mediation in which you are serving is being administered by PeaceWise, when this is not the case. An analogy might be to attend St John’s first aid training and then to say you were an official St John’s aid officer.

    We have had some rare cases where parties thought that they had “official” PeaceWise mediators provided by PeaceWise when this wasn’t true, the case went badly, and we were unaware the case was taking place. This caused damage to our reputation and left the parties badly served by someone without the necessary experience or skills for the case in question. It generally hurts the mediator too – because taking a serious case without proper experience and backup can leave a mediator badly affected too.

    So, we want to avoid this outcome for everyone.

    If you have only attended training, then the best way is to tell people your actual background and experience. This may include saying you have done a PeaceWise mediation training course.

    However please do be clear about whether you are operating privately or whether the case is an official PeaceWiseHelp mediation case operating under PeaceWise’s supervision. And please make sure you don’t give people the impression that you have some kind of official approval, qualification or standing with PeaceWise if that is in fact not the case. 😉

  • Read this page so you understand the PeaceWiseHelp mediation process 
  • Send us your enquiry (see below) so we can liaise with you to discuss your situation, answer any questions you may have and confirm it’s a suitable case for PeaceWiseHelp mediation
  • We’ll then proceed with providing you with some forms, an estimate of costs for your case. Once agreement is made on the proposal, payment is made and the PeaceWiseHelp mediation process can begin.


adjudication

Sometimes there may be circumstances where a conflict needs the involvement of third parties who are Christian to decide on material issues that are in dispute.

The circumstances may be extremely tense – for example, where the relationship has not already been reconciled. Or it may simply be a case that the parties involved have a different view over a matter and would like one or more third parties, who are Christian, to adjudicate the matter for them.

In either case, there remain material decisions that need to be made – e.g., custody of children, liability for damage to property, responsibility for financial loss, compensation for particular conduct etc.

The motivation in each case is the same – the parties’ desire not to bring the gospel of Jesus into disrepute by bringing a dispute before a secular court to decide – see 1 Corinthians 6: 1-8*.  Instead, the parties seek to honour God by allowing the decision to be made by godly Christian people who are engaged to do this specific job.

The adjudicators may be from the parties’ church, or may be from outside it, or may be a mixture of both – sometimes even including people who have specialist expertise in the subject matter of the dispute.

Whilst not uncommon in certain other countries (e.g., the USA and New Zealand), this practice is rarely used by Christians within Australia.  Nevertheless, PeaceWise encourages Christians who have material issues that they cannot resolve to use a biblical process of adjudication to have the matter decided, rather than take the matter to court.

It is PeaceWise’s preferred and usual practice to deal with both relational and material issues in a PeaceWiseHelp mediation. We do not usually provide a standalone PeaceWiseHelp adjudication service, however please contact us if adjudication of a dispute in which you are involved is something you believe is required. We can discuss with you what might be the best way forward.

*For a much more detailed consideration of the practical outworkings of 1 Corinthians 6: 1-8, see Appendix D of The Peacemaker by Ken Sande – 3rd edition, Baker Books, 2004.