In preparation for International Moment of Frustration Scream Day (October 12), we started listing things that might make a person scream, including a list for group leaders (yesterday’s post), group members, and group guests. Group members are a resilient group. Many have endured a carousel of leaders and group names. They have met in rooms too small and too big, and even shared rooms with other groups. Yet, they still faithfully attend a Bible study group. Here is our list of things that make even the most resilient group members scream.
- Unprepared group leaders. Group members expect the leader to at least make some effort. At least highlight and make notes in the Leader Guide so the group knows you did something! Even better, teach from a set of notes—even if copied word-for-word from the Leader Guide.
- Leader arrives late. Related to point number 1. Nothing frustrates group members more than arriving on time, only to find that they beat the leader. If the group members can get there on time, so can the group leader.
- Overprepared group leaders. Some leaders take it to the other extreme and overprepare. They have 124 PowerPoint slides and enough content to fill three hours of time. The group time feels like getting a drink from a fire hydrant just to wash down an aspirin. No one asks questions or discusses the ideas shared, because there isn’t enough time to do so.
- Goes over the allotted time. This is a symptom of the overprepared group leader. The ending time is just as important as the starting time.
- Teaches the lesson, but not people. The focus of this leader is to finish the lesson. Questions or needs that surface during group time get in the way of finishing. The group members clearly know that their questions and needs play second fiddle to the content to be covered.
- Nothing provided to use beyond the group time. Group members will be happy to let the leader do all the studying, but deep down they know they need to study as well. An email to the group with the topic or Scripture passage is a start. What about providing group members with something to read every day? Group members may not read every day, but failing to provide some study help at all assures that they will not do it.
- Focus only on the group time. Life happens beyond the group time. Group members want a relationship with each other and the group leader, and that can’t happen in an hour of structured time. We want to minister to others, sharpen each other, and do some things together… so let us.
What other actions might cause a group member to scream?
What actions might a group leader take to minimize potential frustration among group members?
Tomorrow, we’ll talk about the frustrations of group guests.
G. Dwayne McCrary is a project team leader for ongoing adult Bible study resources at Lifeway, including the adult Explore the Bible resources. He also teaches an adult group and preschool group every Sunday in the church he attends.