Okay, we’re having a discussion about the EGR’s in your small group. And what does EGR stand for? It stands for extra grace required people. Now these are people in your group who probably take a little bit more of your patience a little bit more of your time and they’re just a little bit more difficult to deal with than the rest of the members of your group. Also refer to these as the four D’s, so you’ve got what we talked about last time. The dominator. That’s just somebody who tends to dominate the conversation, maybe turns the discussion back to themselves during the group time. And then you have the dodger, the debater, and the drainer, and for just a minute, I want to talk today about what do you do if you have the dodger in your small group.
Now the dodger is the opposite of the dominator. Whereas a dominator talks a lot. The dodger tends to not talk at all or very little during the group time. So what do you do? How do you bring them into the conversation? Let me give you four ideas to try during the group time. First of all, you don’t want to force anyone into the conversation before they’re ready. There’s a lot of people that just need some time to feel comfortable with the group before they’re able to kind of share or discuss their ideas in front of everyone and that’s okay. Especially those who are more introverts. Just give them the time to feel comfortable. Give them two or three group meetings before they feel like they have to talk. The second way that you can get people to talk is just have everyone give kind of they’re a three to five minute life story. Most people are okay talking about themselves.
Now the important thing here is that you give them some heads up on this. So if you have somebody that hasn’t entered into the conversation, give them a couple of weeks to prepare so they’re ready with their life story. So just give them about three to five minutes to talk about themselves with the group. The third thing that you might want to do is ask her opinion on something that you know she’s going to feel comfortable answering. So if there’s a question, you’ve looked ahead in the study and you feel like you know what Susan would have an opinion on this, so maybe ask that person directly their opinion on something, that you know they’re going to have an opinion on. And then fourth is to arrange a time outside of the group to kind of get to know that person, get comfortable with them so that they’re comfortable and they have a relationship with somebody in the group before they feel like they have to open up. So just maybe simply meet them for coffee or between services in the lobby. Just something to start that relationship before they have to enter into the conversation with the whole group. So that’s just the things to try if you have a dodger 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.