Introduction to the Care Team Concept

The presence of a Care Team greatly improves the outcomes of reconciliation efforts for couples, families, and groups experiencing conflict. When parties in conflict know that others are willing to commit time and energy in coming alongside them as they attempt to pursue reconciliation and heal conflicted relationships, the parties receive the encouragement, support, and accountability they need for transformation to occur.

Care Team members need not be friends, usually ought not be relatives, and can include pastors, elders, mentors, counselors, coaches, disciplers, and spiritual directors. The best Care Team members are spiritually mature, have a high view of Scripture, are compassionate and understanding in the face of struggle and pain, and have the time available to commit to serving the parties in conflict.

Care Team members help in two ways.  They work together as a team to support parties before and during a reconciliation process, preferably by participating in the face-to-face intensive conciliation process. In addition, they provide the practical help, encouragement, and accountability that supports parties in their efforts to restore trust, respect, and closeness in their relationships.

Ideally, all Care Team members would attend the entire conciliation, but that's not always possible. If it's not, Case Managers work with Care Team members to determine their availability and when would be the most crucial times to attend. One of the advantages of having multiple people on the Care Team is to help ensure that someone from the Care Team is in attendance at all times, if possible.

Following the conciliation, the minimum time commitment is generally six months, and the maximum time commitment is twelve months. While the relationships between the Care Team members and the parties often endure beyond the twelve-month period, the formal process ends at twelve months. If additional care is needed, another conciliation process with a fresh Care Team is recommended.

Expectations of care Team members

Prior to the conciliation process, care team participants are expected to:

  • Commit to keep private information gained about the parties and anyone else (present or not present).
  • Encourage the parties to engage in and commit to pursuing reconciliation, as far as it is possible for them;
  • Participate in a consultation with the Sound Conciliation case manager;
  • Discuss with the case manager or conciliator any concerns or questions about the conciliation process; and
  • Read The Peacemaker by Ken Sande or Resolving Everyday Conflict by Ken Sande and Kevin Johnson.

During the conciliation process, Care Team members are expected to:

Listen, observe, take notes (notes are confidential), participate as invited by the conciliators, encourage the parties, and pray;

Support and respect the role of the conciliators, when attending the process, by agreeing to:
  • refrain from openly advocating for any party. All Care Team members attending a conciliation process are expected to encourage and support the party’s commitment to pursue reconciliation in light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The role of an advocate, however, is to represent or defend another person from injury or harm. Interference with the conciliation process occurs when a Care Team member confuses “pain and hurt” with “harm and injury” and advocates to “protect” a party from experiencing the pain of moving toward reconciliation. Attempts to advocate for a party in a reconciliation process may actually harm that party and damage the reconciliation process
  • request a caucus when they discern the need to encourage or challenge the party privately or speak with the conciliators; and
  • excuse themselves from attending the conciliation process if they can no longer participate due to biblical or personal reasons, or if asked to recuse themselves by the parties, parties’ church, or the conciliators.

Following the conciliation process, Care Team members are expected to:

Coordinate care and communicate with the other Care Team members.

Have a meaningful contact with the parties so that the parties meet:
  • Weekly or bi-weekly for the first three months following the conciliation process, with at least one member of the Care Team, and
  • Bi-weekly or monthly for the remaining nine months, with at least one member of the Care Team.

Review the Summary of Important Conversations with the parties and discuss progress and obstacles stemming from its implementation.

Encourage ongoing reconciliation by assisting the parties to work through issues detailed on the Issues List in the Summary of Important Conversations.

Contact the parties’ pastors and/or conciliators if they feel it is necessary.
© 2015 by Judy Dabler