And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 1 Thessalonians 5:14
If you’re a Community Group leader, you’re goal is to help create environments where people in your group can experience life change together. But what happens when there are some in the group that seem to resist? What happens when you don’t get along well with someone in the group? What about someone that just has one of those challenging personalities? Here are some ideas that may help as you lead people that might require extra patience.
Someone Who Talks Too Much
- Talk privately with the person before your meeting and ask them to help get others involved.
- Ask, “What does someone else think?”
- Use body language to address other people.
- Sit next to the talker. This directs your eyes to other people and allows you to be close enough to the talker to lean in to appropriately interrupt, if you need to.
- Direct questions to other people by name.
Someone Who Never Talks
- Express appreciation (both publicly and privately) for the contributions they make.
- Use an icebreaker to get everyone talking right away.
- Ask them specifically, “What do you think?”
- Direct simple questions their way.
- Enlist the help of other group members to draw them out.
Someone Raises A Controversial Question
- Remind the group that we must rely on the truth of God’s Word as the final authority in our lives and in the group.
- Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know the answer, but I’ll try to find out.”
- Acknowledge that Christians hold different views on a variety of topics.
- Know that you are not going to settle every question for all Christians for all time in one discussion.
- Focus on what the different opinions have in common.
Group Participation Is Limited
- Use the “Connect” section on the Sermon Questions to ease into the deeper discussion.
- Encourage people to take notes during the Sunday message and come ready to share their “one thing” – something that stuck out to them about what they heard.
- Ask application questions like, “So how could you practice this principle this week?”
- After someone answers a question, use follow up questions to draw out more thoughts from them or someone else.
- Focus on open-ended questions rather than asking for “Yes/No” responses.
- Use statements like “Go on”, “Tell us more”, “What do you mean?”, “Anything else?”, “What does everybody else think?”.
Group Discussion Drifts Into Tangents
- Be flexible – sometimes the issues need to be discussed even though they are not scheduled.
- If it’s appropriate, say, “Let’s stop and pray about this right now.” After prayer, transition immediately back to the main topic.
- Agree to discuss the topic at a later date.