Empowerment Leadership Model for Small Groups, Teams, & Families
Course 2, Lesson 7
Having a Sufficiently Wide Range of Activities and/or Responsibilities to Meet the Needs of All Group Members
what the group does to get started working on its purpose correctly
Note: Whenever "group" or "team" is used, it can mean "group", "team", or "family".
To be successful, the group must see that there is a sufficiently wide range of activities and/or responsibilities to meet the needs of all members. This assures that no one is left out of the group's caring concern.
In some kinds of groups the need for this breadth of activities is obvious. For example, if a youth group does only sports activities, it will not hold the interest and commitment of the non-athletic teenager.
This principle can best be explained by examples. If a Bible study is constantly superficial some members of the study may become bored. If it is always theological some members might be intimidated. Eventually, some will begin to find reasons to miss the Bible study. If a church board only deals with crises, it will lose leaders who want to see new and better things done. If a church board primarily just deals with only that which must be dealt with and spends a lot of time joking or in friendly social talk, it will drive away leaders who feel more responsibility for the spiritual well-being of the church members. If a group meeting for Christian community only deals with discussing and praying for the crises of group members, those without crises will feel the group has nothing that they really need. Such a group needs to ask the group members with more stable lives what it is that they are looking for in getting together.
Therefore, the smart group leader makes sure the group knows that it must have a sufficient variety of activities and/or responsibilities to meet the needs of all group members. After you are satisfied that the group understands this, sit back to see if they act on such knowledge. If the group does not, you will have to decide whether or not such oversight or neglect will lead to the group losing too many members all at once, in which case you will need to intervene. Otherwise, you can wait and watch for the time when absenteeism grows. Then, ask the group why it thinks some people are not very regular in attendance. This should lead to the group making the discovery that there is not enough to hold the commitment of the missing members.
We used this principle when going on our family vacations. We knew that we would lose the enthusiasm of any of our children or even ourselves, if we did not ensure that the vacation held fairly equal attractiveness for every family member. Bored or angry family members can really ruin an otherwise fun vacation day. So we had everyone write down the top two things each wanted to do on the vacation. Then we did all we could possibly do, within reason, to make sure everyone got to do #1 or something similar. Then we tried to squeeze in everyone’s number 2 activity.
The group leader remembers that bored or disgruntled group members can exhibit a wide range of behaviors ranging from going to sleep to creating arguments to complicating everything. Whenever a group member’s behavior becomes dysfunctional, the group really should consider if it is meeting that person’s more important needs, within the group purpose, of course. Then again, the purpose of the group might have become something the person just doesn’t need or desire anymore, in which case the person probably should quit the group and find something more appropriate to his or her needs. In the case of true Christian community, believers rarely understand their great need for it. So they might be disinterested unless the need for it is well explained and demonstrated.
A successful group not only plans a variety of activities but also a variety of methods. A Christian community might change their Bible study method occasionally to allow each member to eventually "have it his or her way." Other activities that can have a variety of methods include prayer, refreshments, structure of meetings, and so forth.
Next, let's consider how a successful group must learn
the strengths and weakness of group members
& tap into the strengths of members.
Copyright 2012 Dick Wulf, Colorado, USA