Making Your Small Group Work Extended Tip 3

Extended Tip 3: Dealing With People In Crises

Responding to people in crisis or experiencing a tragedy should be done in a manner that keeps the group intact and brings resources to the person whose life is unraveling.

The group needs to know how to respond appropriately. Often the crisis will change the reality of how the group acts and interacts.

Biblical references:
• Romans 15:1—“We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak . . . ”
• Galatians 6:2—“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ”
• 1 Thessalonians 5:11—“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up”

Why it’s important:
• God has put your group in this person’s life at this time to be his hands and feet; the group is a community and needs to show and extend compassion—that’s what we’re called to do
• There is no easy formula or quick fix in these situations
• The group must move toward the person, not away
• We are the primary resource for this person
• The severity of one person’s pain affects the entire group when the individual needs long-term support
• Compassion: to suffer alongside; to come alongside one another

How to do it:
• Before the next formal meeting (during the initial hours/days of the crisis):
– Sit and grieve with the person
– Do any hospital visits as appropriate
– Assign days of the week to call or visit
– Attempt to meet any additional immediate needs that surface
• At your next formal meeting:
– Pray with/for the person
– Clarify the specific needs of the person
– Determine what needs can be met both in meetings and in between meetings
– Discuss what shifts the group needs to make in response to the new reality
– If necessary, hold the person accountable to getting help

Share Your Thoughts

Has your group struggled in this area? Share your stories and tips with fellow small group leaders in the comments section below.

Dr. Henry Cloud

Dr. Henry Cloud is a popular speaker, and co-host, with Dr. John Townsend, of the nationally broadcast New Life Live! Radio program, and cofounder of Cloud-Townsend Clinic and Cloud-Townsend Resources. His bestselling books include the Gold Medallion Award-winning Boundaries books and Making Small Groups Work. Dr. Cloud and his wife and two daughters live in Southern California.

Follow Dr. Henry Cloud on:   Facebook   Twitter   Website

John Townsend

Dr. John Townsend is a psychologist, popular speaker, and cohost of the nationally broadcast New Life Live! radio program, and a cofounder of Cloud-Townsend clinic and Cloud-Townsend Resources. He is coauthor of the bestselling Boundaries and author of Boundaries with Teens and Hiding from Love.

Follow John Townsend on:   Facebook   Twitter   Website

Bill Donahue

Dr. Bill Donahue is the author of the bestselling Leading Life-Changing Small Groups, Building a Life-Changing Small Groups Ministy (with Russ Robinson), Coaching Life-Changing Leaders (with Greg Bowman), and the Equipping Life-Changing Small Groups DVD.

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