How to Deal with “Inappropriate Sharers” in Your Small Groups

Roy Mansfield here – Pastor of Spiritual Development at Northstar Church in Panama City, Florida, Senior Pastors Coaching Network Alumni and regular guest on Nelson’s blog.

Quick post for you today about how to handle an awkward and difficult situation that occurs from time to time in your small groups…

What would you do if someone in a mixed (men & women) small group you’re leading began to confess in detail about a sexual sin?

FREAK OUT??!!! Yes, me too. But I mean, after that… Here are three steps to deal with just this type of experience:

1. Immediately ask God for help (I would recommend saying this prayer in your mind rather than shouting “HELP US JESUS!” while the person is talking).

2. Say “excuse me” and then let them know that you want to address what they’re sharing, but you think it might be more helpful if they spoke with you (or you and your spouse) privately after the group.

3. If this is a very emotional or significant issue it would probably be helpful for you to take some time to pray for the individual before you moved on.  Be careful not to pray for them just as a “transition” strategy.  Sincerely ask God to bring healing and grace in this area of their life.

This process will also help you transition your group after you are finished dealing with a deeply emotional issue that is completely appropriate.

Remember what The Apostle Paul said to the Romans:

“Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.” – Romans 12:15

Just because a group get’s “messy” doesn’t mean it has to crash and burn. 

Leadership is what will make the difference.

– Roy Mansfield

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About Nelson Searcy

Nelson Searcy is an experienced church growth strategist, pastor, church planter and coach, consulting with churches around the world. As founder of Church Leader Insights and the Renegade Pastors Network, he has personally trained more than 3,500 church leaders in over 45 denominations through live events, seminars and monthly coaching. Nelson is also the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church, with locations across New York City and in Boca Raton, FL. Nelson and his church routinely appear on lists such as “The 50 Most Influential Churches” and “The 25 Most Innovative Leaders.” He is the author of over 100 church growth resources and 18+ books, including The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life, Ministry and The Difference Maker: Using Your Everyday Life for Eternal Impact, and At the Cross with the People Who Were There. He and his wife, Kelley, have one son, Alexander.

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