By Bill Search
Confronting is one of the scariest parts of any small group experience, and maybe that's why a friend of mine coined the term "carefrontation." The idea is that you merge caring and confronting together, and you carefront somebody. As cheesy as the term sounds it actually adequately describes what we should do; we should carefully talk to people about some difficult conversations. Let me give you some advice on how to have a difficult conversation with a person in a careful manner.
The first thing you need to do is pray. You need to ask God for wisdom so that your heart would be pure, your motives would be clean, and that the person's heart would be softened and ready to receive the conversation.
Have a personal conversation.
Don't make this a group conversation. In fact, don't talk to the whole group about the person, and then talk to the person afterwards. No, go right to the person directly and quickly. Say, "Hey, here's some things I've observed."
And as you sit down and have that private conversation, I recommend the first thing you do is you ask for permission. You say, "Could I have your permission? I have some observations, and maybe I'm mistaken about it, but I'd like to talk to you about something, about the way you interact in the group, or the way that you interact with others in the group." Ask for permission, if they give you permission then you make your observations.
Don't be blunt, but be direct and kind in the way that you confront. Do it in a way that you'd want them to confront you. Maybe the person talks too much in the group so you say, "In the group, it seems like you use more words than other people. The problem is if you talk too much, other people don't get a chance to share. What do you think of that?" You ask them, "Do you think I'm off base? Do you think I might be onto something here?" Truth be told most people will honestly go, "Well yeah, that's not a new problem, that's something I've had for awhile." Then you say, "Well how can I be part of the solution? How can I help you? How can I carry that burden with you?"
If the person is receptive to your help, then this is an important step to take and work out. Make sure you’re faithful to do your part and when you see progress being made, you celebrate it. Whether it's a note, email, phone call, or pat on the back, make sure you encourage them. You say, "I see that you're making effort, and that's awesome. I'm so glad for it."
Well those are a handful of things from prayer to follow-up, that will help you have a difficult conversation with people that you really care about because they're a part of your group.
*This is the twenty-second post in a series of 27 Tips for Small Group Leaders
BILL SEARCH is the author of Simple Small Groups. He has served in ministry for nearly 20 years. Bill loves spending time with his family, drinking great coffee, listening to jazz, and enjoying the great outdoors.