Holy Discontent…or Just Discontent?

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At Suncrest, we’ve relied on an all-church study in the fall for 2 reasons…

1. Jump start small group momentum

2. Refocus on one of our four “C”s.

Generally, we keep the all-church study between 4-7 sessions, and groups have great curriculum liberty after that.

As group leaders step into leadership, I meet with them and talk about the need to be unified with what the church’s mission is. Leaders also sign a covenant which outlines their responsibilities. The first one being Unity, and it says, Leaders at Suncrest will always strive to protect the unity of the church. We will speak positively of other church leaders…etc.

So what do you say when a group leader doesn’t want to do the all-church study? When they’ve told their group they don’t really like the study? The reasons are pretty flimsy…Homework. Not cool enough.

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11 thoughts on “Holy Discontent…or Just Discontent?

  1. Hmmm … interesting situation. I would challenge the leader with the commitment that they made and if they are not willing to follow through on their commitment I would ask them to step down from leading a group (easier said than done of course:).

  2. There are lots of things that could be done, but I wouldn’t rush to asking them to step down. I would really pry more and see why they don’t want to do the study. Maybe it’s not a great study. Maybe their group is dealing with other issues that need to be focused on. Maybe they don’t feel equipped to lead on whatever issue the study is tackling.

    There are lots of reasons, I’m sure, for why a leader wouldn’t utilize the curriculum that the rest of the church is on. I would be careful against knee-jerk reactions that could remove somebody from leadership when that’s not what’s needed.

    1. Ben Agree, knee-jerk is out. As a leader we need to respond, not react. It IS a great study =) Since it’s one of our 4 core values, it’s part of who Suncrest is. A discussion looms, and listening is key. Thx.

  3. We don’t force the group leaders to use the churchwide small group curriculum, but, as others have commented, I do want to know some reasons why. This gives me a way to contact the leader and ask questions; what made this curriculum not the best choice for your group right now? Do you have some suggestions on what I can do in the future to make it better? What could we change, if anything, to make it useful? Finally, just asking often brings up issues not related to the curriculum, and these responses can be all over the map. It may be personal leader struggles with church or family, it may be a conflict within the group, it may be some misunderstanding. Warning: don’t use this approach if you’re not willing to address the issues, it can feel like a whuppin’ sometimes.

  4. Here is a few things to keep in mind when leading leaders:

    1. When leaders complain, they either have the “spiritual gift of complaining” or they are actually onto something that you should consider listening to.

    2. If you have a leader that is not on board with the little things and demonstrates that discontent to the team/group they lead, what kind of example does that set? What happens in the future when you have a big issue that arises and you really need them on board? If let it go with the little stuff it can cause huge problems later.

    3. When dealing with confrontations there is one rule you never want to forget. The longer you wait, the harder it gets. Deal with these things right away, the details are still fresh in your mind and it demonstrates that you as a leader are confident enough in your vision and gifts that God has given you to take responsibility for those in your care.

    4. This stuff is so important, It is not just about a silly study. It is about leadership. If you have a leader in place that is not willing to follow… sorry… they shouldn’t be leading.

    1. Great stuff, Frank! Pondering the possibility of #1. πŸ˜‰ And #3 brings Barney Fife to mind…”Nip it in the bud!” Ok, so I’m old. Think this is how the worship leader feels when people complain about the songs/style/volume. UGH!

  5. Great question! (and quite practical) While we love all of our small group leaders to get the vision and be on-board, it’s just reality that not all are. Do we want to spend our limited time fighting those battles, or investing in people who DO want to grow?

    At our church our pastor recommends growing ‘around’ the problem groups. Share the vision, ask for buy-in, but if not forthcoming, leave ’em be. Direct no new people looking for small groups their way, they get lower priority to space requests (if a Sunday school class), and we’re not going to pay for their curriculum they want to do instead.

    Eventually by focusing on the groups that get the vision, are on board with core values, and looking to reach out to others, those groups will grow and multiply and fewer and fewer will be of the type you mention. On the plus side, I like that you’ve already had a sit down to explain the church’s vision and have required signing a covenant. (So if you do have to go to your last resort, you’ve laid the foundation already.)

    I personally have a part of me that likes the ‘whuppin’ approach, but I think my pastor is probably correct πŸ˜‰

  6. Great question Marybeth! We’ve dealt with this in our church both as ministry staff and small group leaders ourselves. We’ve had grumbles from our group and like to challenge them with, ‘let’s just see what God can do with this’. God can do great things in our hearts when we commit to being open to something new, especially when we don’t feel like it. We also try to remember that you can’t really MAKE adults do anything they don’t want to do. The better path is to try to inspire.

  7. At Seacoast we kicked off our new alignment study today. It only takes One a study of Acts 1-6 for 6 weeks. Its going to be a great study. You are right it brings great unity and momentum for groups.

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