In preparation for International Moment of Frustration Scream Day (October 12), we started listing things that might make a person scream. That led to the creation of things that frustrate group leaders, group members, and group guests.
Many of the conferences I facilitate focus on the group leader. They share their joys, their dreams, their needs, and their frustrations. Some frustrations just come with the responsibility: the discussion dominator, the chronic late arriver, the occasional attender, the axe-grinder, the rabbit chaser, and playing the stump-the-teacher game. But there are some frustrations that could be avoided and many of them seem to be related to the one who recruited them in the first place. The person recruiting the group leader doesn’t intend to cause frustration, but it happens. Here is a list of some of the frustrations that make group leaders scream.
- A few details not shared during the recruiting process. The list of details varies, but the bottom line is people want to know upfront what is expected. What meetings are they expected to attend? Who will help them if there is a problem? What will they be teaching? Who will they be teaching? With whom will they be teaching? The details make a difference.
- No onboarding plan. Most businesses provide an orientation of some sort that helps new employees get started on the right foot. For some group leaders, onboarding means they received a curriculum resource with little to no explanation as to how to use it. The leader is left alone to figure it out. Nothing is done to prepare the group leader for that first day.
- Left on the relational island. Regardless of the age grouping, group leaders need someone to check on them as individuals. Even if the person leads a group of peers, the island exists (the group views them differently which impacts relationships). If they work with an age group different from their own age (i.e., adult working with preschoolers), they may feel even more isolated. The one who recruited them must intentionally become their shepherd.
- No ongoing training. I have yet to meet a group leader who wants to simply be mediocre. Most want to be better than they were last week. Failing to provide some type of ongoing training communicates that the recruiter either doesn’t know enough about the job to help or doesn’t care…or both.
- Ineffective ongoing training. This may actually be more frustrating than not providing any training. Some call teaching the lesson for the coming week or month “training.” One begins to think that the group leaders are not capable of studying on their own or are too lazy to do so. Some share announcements and distribute forms. Others make the meeting about them (what is needed to help the church “grow”—increase the number by which the one who recruits is evaluated—as opposed to how to help the leader succeed). The group leader often wonders, “Instead of distributing your study notes, why not show me how to create my own set of notes using the resources you already provide me?”
What other things would you add to the list? What makes you scream as a group leader?
What actions might be taken to minimize the potential for frustrating those you recruit?
Tomorrow, we’ll talk about the frustrations of group members.
G. Dwayne McCrary is a project team leader for ongoing adult Bible study resources at Lifeway, including the adult Explore the Bible resources. He also teaches an adult group and preschool group every Sunday in the church he attends.