If you lead a small group, the chances are good that you have at least one of what I call EGR’s. What does that stand for? Just extra grace required. Now those are people in your group that take just a little bit more of your patience, probably a little bit more of your time than everybody else. I still refer to these as the four D’s. See if you recognize any of these in your small group. The first one is the Dominator, then there’s the Dodger, the Debater, and finally the Drainer, and what I want to do for just a minute is talk about what do you do if you have a dominator in your small group. And that’s just somebody who tends to answer more questions and everybody else maybe turns the discussion back to themselves. They may be a seasoned Christian so they feel like they have more answers than everybody else. So what do you do if you have a dominator kind of dominating the conversation? Well, let me give you four things that you might try. The first one is just simply how the room is set up for the discussion of your group. You might try sitting right next to the person that dominates the conversation. There’s something about being that close of proximity to the person who’s answering or asking the questions that maybe slow them down a little bit before they jump into the conversation, so you might try that. Also, maybe make eye contact with other group members when you ask the question, especially those that have been introduced into the discussion yet and kind of with your body language invite them to answer the question before the person who usually jumps in as the dominator. And then you might also bring somebody into the conversation by calling up their name, asking them specifically to answer the question. Make sure that it’s something that there’ll be able to answer, maybe more of an open ended question, but invite them in before the person who dominates is able to jump in and if none of that works, it’s always good to meet outside of the group time. Maybe grab some coffee or meet them in the lobby after church and just sit down and explain the mission and the vision of the small group. So that’s some things that you might try if you have a dominator in your small group.
Chris Surratt is a ministry consultant and coach with more than twenty years of experience serving the local church. Chris served on the Executive Teams at Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN., and Seacoast Church in Charleston, S.C., prior to becoming the Discipleship and Small Groups Specialist for Lifeway Christian Resources. He is the author of Small Groups for the Rest of Us: How to Design Your Small Groups System to Reach the Fringes. You can follow his blog at www.chrissurratt.com.