How do you like those words? If you’re a small group leader, you likely just shivered reading the title of this blog entry. It strikes at the core of your leadership. It questions your judgment. It can halt the progress of your group.
Earlier this week, I interacted with a leader who is dealing with this issue. It may seem like something simple, but there are many questions to consider. Do you press on? Should you dismiss the person’s opinion? Do you take a group poll? Is the book’s subject matter (finances, evangelism, missions, etc.) the real issue—not the book? Do you punt the study like a football on Saturday afternoon? How should you handle this situation?
Allow me to make a few suggestions:
1. Assess the Person – Unfortunately, some people won’t like or approve of any book your group selects as a resource. They tend to be contrarian—no matter the subject or author. Is this that person? If so, you need to listen to their concerns, but not give up on the resource immediately. Learn the root of their distaste for the book. Then use discernment about the validity of their concern and/or issue. If you’re not dealing with a contrarian, get the facts of their book angst and then proceed.
2. Assess the Group – Ask a few others from the group for their honest opinion. Is the book or resource connecting with people’s head or heart? (A resource needs to do one—at a minimum—and preferably both.) If group members are not being challenged to a deeper understanding of God or a deeper understanding of whom they are before God—the resource is not worth continuing. Be sure to get group feedback before making the final decision.
3. Assess the Cost – Punting a study resource comes with a cost—both financial and in group momentum. Are these costs worth it? Get group feedback. Evaluate and make your decision with this in mind.
4. Develop a New Plan – If your group has decided to move on to another resource, find a clear next step. This will help you avoid the loss of momentum. You can do this by coming to the next group meeting with a few book ideas and/or study suggestions. Then, quickly transition into another study.
Don’t let the dreaded phrase, “I don’t like our book” get you down. Take a few moments to asses, develop a new plan, and move forward with confidence.