Sunday, June 21, 2009

What Every (small group) Leader Should Know - pt. 2

Instant Recap:
1. Ministers/Leaders MUST be & learn to be servants first!
2. Leaders MUST learn to put others FIRST!

Ok, Now you are caught up... no excuses!

The focus of this particular post will be about more of the mechanics of doing ministry, than the spiritual focus of the last post.

3. Crisis Management!

First off, and I can't stress this enough.... for a good leader, learning crisis management is a GOLDMINE for leading... NO Matter WHAT, or WHO you are leading!!!

I heard Miles Monroe say one time that when God put Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, he told them to develop people (be fruitful) and Manage (tend) the "Things" of the garden. This is a very key point in learning to be a good and GREAT leader!

YOU MUST understand that in any leadership situation, you MUST... I REPEAT MUST separate people from their stuff!!! People, in general are all in need of the same thing, healthy relationship with God as well as each other. This is wonderful news if you can see that and that alone... The problem seems to be that most leaders will spend 90% of their time dealing with people's stuff, and not in relationship with the people... To use a illustration I used in the last post... Zacchaeus

You see, Zacchaeus was, in his time, what was called the "Chief" tax collector..... Think about that for a second... EVEN the bible refers to Him by what he manages... NOT who he is!

Along comes Jesus...

Jesus saw him in the tree and immediately saw through his stuff to who he was and what HE needed... relationship! He did not see him as his contemporaries did.... a cheat, a swindler, a thief..... in today's world think "Chief Politician".

What does this have to do with Crisis Management?? EVERYTHING!!!!!

IF You can successfully separate people from their stuff, you will alleviate and successfully manage crisis Situations....

You see the KEY to crisis management is to manage the situation not the people... IF you can break down what is happening from what the people really need you can be very successful as a leader of anything.

How does this pertain to small groups you ask??
Well.... here's a situation of something that WILL happen to you as a leader if you give it enough time.....

Let's talk about "Little Johnny", you know the little brat that grew up through all of the cautionary life tales of how to NOT act and what to NOT do. Well.... BAD News, Little johnny, grew up and is now big Johnny, and he got invited to your small group!!!

Big Johnny isn't exactly mean, but he is what we will refer to as "Spiritually Combative"... He is now the guy that is ALWAYS trying to prove how much more he knows than you and how contradictory everything you say about God is.... THIS is a CRISIS, that needs some serious Management!!!!!!!

So what do we do??

First you have to look at the real root of what is going on. You see, Johnny always got in trouble, and his whole life was spent feeling like the world was against HIM because of his actions. YES they did come against HIM but only because they didn't understand how to separate the actions. So now that he is all grown up, he still carries with him this self image of having to prove himself to everyone around him!

How do you deal with that???
First and foremost this is dealt with by having strong and healthy boundaries for any meeting/interaction you have as a leader... They can be as simple as "We are going to talk tonight about....bla, bla..... Please hold any comments till I open the floor for discussions".
Another option (and one I have found very helpful for dealing with a bunch of kids with ADD)
-- Explain the "ground rules" that any comments that are made need to NOT be directed as a response to what someone else has said... Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and it should be a safe environment to share opinions openly.

What setting these ground rules, does is give you the power to stop any arguments, or issues that can arise from people like Johnny... by simply going back to the ground rules, and not putting down the person.... "Please keep in mind johnny, that we are all entitled to our opinions and any comments should not be directed toward someone else because of their opinions".
IF Johnny continues to disrupt, it is a simple matter of taking a break and asking johnny to go to another room (out of earshot of the group) ans simply stating that IF Johnny continues to go against the rules, you will have to ask him to leave. End of discussion!!

In most situations as a leader, rarely will you find your self dealing with a "Physical" crisis, the majority will be these "Emotional" issues and situations.

It is a good thing for leaders to practice dealing with different scenario's... I will give you a few...

1. Johnny, decides he is going to use the time in the meeting to talk about 'Amway' and how it has changed HIS life

2. Someone in the group begins to talk about God and how "SHE" changed her life by leading her to a commune outside of town where she can TRULY be free

3. IN the discussion, you come to a topic of abortion... one of the people in the room has had an abortion, and is in a very emotional state, during the time, she breaks down and starts sobbing uncontrollably.

4. You find out at one meeting that someone is a homosexual.

In each of these examples, IF you can see beyond the issues to the person, you will find the same thing... someone who is in need of relationship with others... And in some cases, it is OK to refer someone to a professional counselor if they need more help than you as a leader can provide. IT IS NOT YOUR JOB TO FIX ANYONE!!!! Only to Love them and walk with them the best you can!

*** Very Important ***
Remember, IF there is interaction with someone that seems to require/consume the entire focus of the group, take it elsewhere (And always gender specific... guys with guys, girls with girls)
There is always more than 1 person in a group... otherwise it wouldn't be a group (duh) and it is important as a leader to remember that there are quite a few other people with needs, and if one person monopolizes the meeting, can make the others feel less important (Very BAD!!!)

*** Practical Notes From The Dark Side ***

In meetings dealing with people you may occasionally come across a doozie that requires a bit of finesse to deal with.


1. Child abuse.
YOU MUST REPORT THIS TO THE POLICE!!! but be careful, and try to keep as few others in the group from knowing/talking about it as it can cause more harm in the long run than it does good. Try to set up a meeting with a superior or another "Equal" leader to help you walk through this as the more council you can get the better.

2. Spousal Abuse.
This is a bit different, you need to strongly encourage that the person leave the situation and seek help... DO NOT Confront the spouse, as this ALWAYS leads down a bad road and you may not have another chance to help them out of their situation if you do.

3. Attempted Suicide.
IF They are threatening to do harm to themselves or other you MUST REPORT THIS to the authorities!!! If they have already attempted it... remember to deal with them not their situation, they need love not judgement!! They also need someone to walk with them. NO ONE ever attempts suicide in public, or with friends... they do it when, and usually because they are alone... they NEED relationship, and healthy LOVE!!!

4. Death/Divorce... Both can be Equally as painful
This is delicate in that everyone grieves differently, but everyone that grieves, MUST be allowed to grieve in their own way (as long as it isn't causing harm to themselves or others)
Let them grieve, be there if they need you and pray for them from a distance if they don't... that's about all you can do.

I think that about covers most of what I can think of for this post, I will post lots more soon [;o)

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