These hurts manifest in as many different ways as there are people in groups. However, there are some consistent patterns that I’ve observed over the years. It could be illustrated by this picture:
A fun activity is the name each of the people represented in this picture. For instance, the owl at the top could be called Mr. I-Know-the-Answer-but-I’m-Not-Telling. Or Mr. I’ve-Done-This-Before-So-I-Can’t-Be-Bothered. Of course this illustration is all men. Women don’t display disfunctions like these in groups. Right? Well, since I’m a man I won’t respond.
Of course, most of the time, people’s hurts don’t come out all at once. But when one does, how a leader responds can be the difference between letting this problem control the group or allowing the Spirit to use the situation to lead the group to the next level.
So when problems occur, here are a few questions to ask:
- Is this a new behavior or just that outward manifestation of an ongoing problem? If it is new, then find out what has happened in the person’s life and talk through the issue. If it is ongoing, then it may be time to deal with the issue and see God’s healing.
- Is this best addressed with the entire group, in a sub-group of two or three or in a one-on-one conversation? Don’t assume that there is a one-size-fits-all solution.
- Does this person need help from someone outside the group? Sometimes issues arise that are bigger than what you or the group can deal with. Enlist the help of your coach or pastor.
- What is God doing through this problem to change the person? What is God doing to change the group? Remember this is not about fixing the issue. God wants to work through that which arises to change our lives?
- What is God doing in you as you relate to the person who is struggling?