Click the questions below to expand each section:

What is a conciliation?

Christian conciliation is a process for helping people resolve personal conflicts in a God-honoring way that leads to reconciliation and restoring broken relationships. Christian conciliation is also used to resolve material or substantive disputes out of court in accordance with biblical principles. The process is conciliatory rather than adversarial, and promotes honest communication and cooperation to discourage unnecessary conflict.

How is it different than counseling?

Counseling is primarily focused on assisting one person process their own issues or struggles whereas conciliation primarily focuses on reconciling a broken relationship between two people. Counseling enables an individual to better understand their own story and how they have been impacted by their life circumstances. Conciliation enables two people in conflict to work towards reconciling and restoring the relationship. Conciliation always aims at reconciling the conflicted relationship first, and as a byproduct exposes the core relational issues and story of each participant. Counseling aims at helping a person dive into his or her own story first, which may, as a byproduct, expose and reveal unresolved conflict. 

What are the fees?

At Live at Peace Ministries, we strive to make all our services affordable. Depending on the skill, tenure and experience of our staff members our hourly rate ranges from $60 – $120. We do have scholarship grants available if clients qualify.

What if I can’t afford the fees?

We are aware that working with clients on a multi-day basis can add up quickly. We never want financial concerns to prevent you from receiving the care you need. In order to prevent cost from being a hindrance, we offer the following options: Payment plans for those who are looking to pay on a monthly basis and scholarship grants for those that are struggling financially. If you are interested in filling out a scholarship application, please follow this link. 

Do you accept insurance?

Live at Peace Ministries is an out-of-network provider. We do not accept insurance directly. However, once services and payment are rendered we will provide the client with a paid invoice that they may then submit to their insurance company for reimbursement. In order to figure out if your insurance will cover out-of-network mental health, please contact your insurance company.

How do I get started?

If you are interested in receiving services from Live at Peace Ministries, please fill out our Contact Form. An LAPM staff member will contact you within 48 hours of the contact form submission to follow up with any questions you might have and then assign you to a service provider. Or, if you’d like to speak to us directly please call (314) 479-9028.

What if the other party is not interested?

There are times in conflict when another party may not be interested in pursuing reconciliation. If this occurs, a staff member from Live at Peace Ministries will work with you to establish what the next best step would be. Often the next step is to receive individual conflict coaching and establish if there is anything additionally you can do to pursue reconciliation on an interpersonal level. Live at Peace will work with you to evaluate all options given your unique context. When given permission, the conciliator may attempt to connect with the uninterested party to explore other possible solutions.

What is the process and how does it work?

Christian conciliation is a process for helping people resolve personal conflicts in a God-honoring way. Conciliation repairs relationships by drawing out and surfacing the core relational issues that drive conflict. Our conciliation process is both intensive and comprehensive, involving three phases: 1) preparation, 2) the conciliation intensive event, and 3) follow-up care. The conciliation intensive event lasts from three to five days, and provides everyone with an opportunity to safely process the root problems and explore solutions together in a collaborative way.

The intensive event is a structured six-stage process, yet it also creates flexibility as needed. The first stage is the greetings and ground rules stage, which is led by the conciliator(s), lasts about 20 to 25 minutes, and includes a short devotion and prayer. Ground rules generally include:

1. Commitment to confidentiality

2. Honest, open and respectful communication

3. No interrupting others

4. Take notes (handle carefully)

5. Respect conciliator interruptions

6. No assuming motives

7. Address new offenses quickly

8. No disruptive departures

9. Breaks called as needed

10. Caucuses and caucus reports

11. Conciliator communications

12. Amend ground rules as needed

The next stage is opening statements, where each party has 1-2 minutes to express their desired outcomes for the conciliation process. This helps set the tone for the reconciliation work that follows.

Next comes storytelling, when parties have the opportunity to tell their story so that everyone can better understand their perspective. This is the lengthiest part of the conciliation process and can take several hours per person. It is common for storytelling to occur in 1-3 rounds, with each subsequent round becoming more conversational between the parties. During storytelling, conciliator(s) help to clarify facts and perceptions relating to the details of the story. From this point on, the parties will be encouraged to confess their wrongs and seek forgiveness from those whom they have offended.

The fourth stage is Problem identification and clarification and this begins after the stories have been told. The parties will focus on jointly developing and prioritizing an “Issues List.” An Issues List will record the key issues that need to be addressed, problems that need to be solved, and questions that need to be answered. An “issues list” often includes input from the conciliators and non-party participants.

The fifth stage is Examining hearts and exploring solutions. This stage occurs when the parties work together to take responsibility for their contribution to the conflict (resolves personal issues), and to search for and evaluate specific solutions to the issues (resolves substantive issues). During the evaluation process, some solutions are eliminated in favor of better ones.

Finally, the last stage is Leading to agreement and memorializing the process. This stage occurs when the parties reconcile and reach agreement on both personal and substantive issues. These important agreements and conversations are summarized in writing for the parties to review, edit and sign. The Summary of Important Conversations reflects confessions made, forgiveness offered, issues resolved, issues remaining that need further attention, biblical principles that guided the process, actions to be taken in the future, and when and how the results will be evaluated.

Is it effective?

Throughout Scripture it was a common practice to set aside sacred time and space in order to make room in one’s life for God to show up in a more significant way. When our clients take the step of faith to hit the “pause button” and set aside the necessary time to work through relational brokenness, it is amazing how God shows up. We have seen restoration in more than 85% of the marriages we work with. We continue to track our cases after the conciliation process concludes to ensure the process produces long-term transformation.

What if we need financial help?

We are a 501(c)(3) and therefore depend on donations. Our donors have been generous and have provided us with a scholarship fund to financially assist clients who may not be able to afford our services. If you are interested in our scholarship application, please click here. Applying for a scholarship however, does not guarantee that you will be granted one. Scholarship grants are dependent on multiple factors. We will strive to find the right solution for your needs.

Do I need counseling or conciliation?

One of our staff members can help you process which option is best suited for your unique situation. Often when one person wants to work on their own personal issues (e.g. anxiety, addiction, depression, etc.) they are better suited for individual counseling. If the issue pertains to a conflicted relationship, however, there are two different options which may best serve you. You can begin with individual conflict coaching to evaluate what steps you might need to take or, if a relationship is highly-conflicted or in crisis, the best avenue to pursue may be conciliation which includes all involved parties.

Will conciliation work if there are mental health issues?

Conciliation is designed to provide a safe, structured environment to process conflicted relationships. It can provide boundaries and be more directive than counseling, thus can help promote a pathway forward in conflicted relationships, even if there are mental health issues. However, if mental health issues are suspected prior to the intensive conciliation event, you will need to speak with your conflict coach or counselor about your concerns. Many of the conciliators on staff are counselors as well. We take seriously the reality of living in a fallen world, and how this impacts us physically, cognitively, emotionally, and spiritually. We may recommended that clients see a qualified medical professional for an assessment prior to a conciliation process.

I’m thinking about a separation, now what?

The decision to separate is a very important one and should not be made lightly. It is highly recommended that you process this decision with a pastor, counselor, conciliator, or church official. Often when there are years of accumulated hurt, separation may feel like the best way forward to alleviate the immediate pain. However, separating without a redemptive plan in place or without being under the supervision of a church can simply be one step closer to divorce. Whatever the reason you are considering the separation, getting wise, godly counsel is imperative. In cases of domestic violence, abuse, or addiction, there may need to be a period of separation for the safety and protection of everyone. Ideally, however, this is overseen by a community of men and women that can care for the needs of everyone impacted by the separation. At Live at Peace Ministries, we will work with a church to develop a redemptive plan for couples in broken relationships who are thinking about separation.  

Do you work with families?

Conflict is everywhere, especially is your closest relationships. We work with couples dealing with conflict in their marriage as well as families dealing with conflict.

Do you help if we plan on getting a divorce?

LAPM is convinced that even the most damaged marriage relationship can be redeemed through the grace and renewing power of God. Therefore, LAPM does not wish to facilitate or encourage separation or divorce, and will participate in a reconciliation process where separation or divorce are current issues for discussion only when the couple’s church(es) support our involvement, and when we believe that our involvement provides an opportunity to present a gospel-centered approach to reconciliation. This redemptive approach to reconciliation is one that seeks to preserve personal relationships through repentance, confession, and forgiveness.

Each marital dispute is unique, and several factors are considered in determining whether LAPM should be involved in a counseling or conciliation process in which separation or divorce is being considered or pursued:

1. Is one person in the marriage desiring and willing to work toward reconciliation?

The power of reconciliation is unleashed even if only one spouse desires reconciliation and is willing to work diligently to improve their own attitude and conduct, regardless of their partner’s response. Moreover, a counselor or conciliator may see an opportunity to encourage a desire for reconciliation even where none exists. In that case, it would be appropriate to continue working with a couple until such an opportunity ceases to exist. Additionally, at times it may be appropriate to continue services even when only one party wishes to reconcile if a Gospel-centered reconciliation process has the potential to prevent emotional, spiritual, or other harm to the couple’s children, Christian community, or the reputation of Jesus Christ.

2. Are there biblical grounds for divorce?

LAPM believes that there are certain circumstances under which divorce may be biblically permitted (i.e., adultery and abandonment). If biblically permitted grounds for divorce do not appear to exist, we advise the couple that their divorce decision appears to be against God’s revealed will. Since we maintain that the local church has primary responsibility for shepherding its members, as well as making a determination if a divorce is biblically permitted, every effort will be made to encourage the couple to seek guidance under the authority of their local church(es) and may include LAPM contacting the couple’s appropriate church leaders to inform them of an impending divorce decision.

3. Have the couple’s church(es) approved LAPM’s involvement?

Even though LAPM does not advocate for divorce, we respect the couple’s choice to divorce when permission has been granted by their church(es) to do so. LAPM encourages couples to seek out the accountability and help of their churches, and to submit to their church leaders as they respond to their God-given responsibility to shepherd and discipline its members. Even when a marriage is dissolved, LAPM encourages relational reconciliation as a necessary responsibility for believers. In the event of marriage dissolution, the manner in which dissolution occurs must reflect the gracious character of God. A redemptive counseling or conciliation process emphasizes Christ-like behavior on the part of both the husband and wife. When biblical grounds do exist for divorce, Scripture indicates that God favors forgiveness and reconciliation if the offending spouse will repent (Hosea 3:1; Luke 17:3-4). Therefore, reconciliation will be encouraged throughout any divorce process.

How confidential is this process?

Confidentiality is an important aspect of the conciliation process, and LAPM carefully guards the information entrusted to us. To ensure that parties receive consistent guidance and support, however, LAPM may need to be able to discuss the conflict with “parties’ attorneys” (if they have any), with appropriate leaders of their church (if they belong to or attend one) with all non-parties attending the conciliation process, and with all LAPM staff who may be providing services in any capacity. Furthermore, we may need to divulge information to appropriate civil authorities as required by law. For more information, see Rule 16 of the Rules of Procedure for Christian Conciliation found at the Peacemaker Ministries website.

By agreeing to a conciliation process, all parties agree not to discuss conciliation communications with people who do not have a necessary interest in the conciliation process. In addition, parties must agree to treat all communications in this process, written and verbal, including the Summary of Important Conversations (the written document outlining the parties’ agreements that are not intended to be legally binding), and all dealings with LAPM in regard to this dispute, as settlement negotiations which means they will be inadmissible in court and cannot be used as or for the purpose of obtaining legal discovery. Furthermore, by consenting to a conciliation process the parties agree that they will not try to force any conciliator to divulge information acquired during the conciliation process or to testify in any legal proceeding.

Who receives Services?

Individuals, couples, families, churches, and organizations seek out counseling services for themselves or others. Live at Peace Ministries (LAPM) serves the local community of St. Louis and surrounding metropolitan areas. Nearly one-fourth of LAPM’s counseling clients travel to St. Louis from out-of-state locations for counseling services. Some out-of-state clients, unable to find similar services in their geographic area, request telephone or Skype counseling.

What is the goal of Counseling?

LAPM offers a custom treatment plan for the specific needs of the clients we serve. Services include the traditional weekly counseling session, extended sessions, and an intensive multi-hour/day approach. LAPM recognizes that issues stem from an interplay and complexity of physical, relational, spiritual, and emotional dynamics. The ultimate goal of counseling is to help clients learn, grow, and change in light of who God is, and their true identity in Christ.

Traditional Services

A traditional one-hour session helps clients receive the encouragement they need to continue their journey of transformation through a change process.

Extended Services

We frequently offer extended sessions (2-4 hours) to facilitate deeper engagement of heart and relational issues. Extended sessions avoid the lengthy time periods between weekly one-hour sessions.

Intensive Services

LAPM offers intensive services designed to help individuals, couples or families tackle and overcome intense crises or overwhelming challenges. Intensive services are generally 6-8 hours per day, 3-4 days per week.

Telephone/Skype Services

While face-to-face meetings provide the best possible scenario for counseling, sometimes it is impossible for clients and counselors to have that personal contact. Missionaries in the field, individuals struggling with health issues that keep them confined, or people living in areas where Gospel-centered counseling services are not available find LAPM telephone or Skype counseling a helpful and effective option.

What types of concerns do you deal with?

We help people with many different kinds of struggles. Typical issues we see include:

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Boundaries
  • Career and Employment
  • Communication
  • Conflict
  • Crisis
  • Depression
  • Divorce
  • Eating Disorders
  • Fear or Phobias
  • Grief
  • Homosexuality
  • Leadership and Ministry Concerns
  • Parenting
  • Premarital Counseling
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Sexual Addiction
  • Sexual and Relational Intimacy
  • Spiritual Concerns
  • Stress
  • Trauma