Dealing with the aftermath of a broken relationship within a small group can be extremely tricky for a leader. It would be easy for group members to choose sides and splinter the group. But the way the leader responds will set the direction of health and reconciliation for the couple—and the group.
Here are five things a leader should do when a breakup happens:
- Do not take sides.
The leader’s and members’ roles are to love both people unconditionally. Taking sides will guarantee a split in the group.
- Guide the couple toward professional counseling.
The leader or members should not take on the role of mediator between the couple. Talk to a pastor at the church about where to point the couple for biblical counseling.
- Help them find new groups.
If it’s impossible for them to stay in the current group, work with the church leadership to find a group where they can begin to heal.
- Be honest and open with the group.
Rumors and speculation will destroy the trust of the group. If there are members who are personally affected by the situation, meet with them individually outside of the normal group meeting time. It might be best to offer to meet with one of the church pastors at this point.
- Allow God to strengthen relationships in the group.
Satan wants nothing more than to destroy marriages and relationships, and he will use this opportunity to plant seeds of distrust. Use this time to help couples in the group rededicate themselves to God and to each other. This is an ideal time to take the group through a good relationship study like this one.
Chris Surratt is a ministry consultant and coach with over 23 years of experience serving the local church. Chris served on the Executive Team at Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN, and was on staff at Seacoast Church in Charleston, SC, for 15 years. He is also the Small Group Specialist for Lifeway Christian Resources. Chris’s first book, Small Groups For The Rest Of Us: How to Design Your Small Groups System to Reach the Fringes, was recently released by Thomas Nelson. You can follow his blog at chrissurratt.com or follow him on Twitter @chrissurratt.