My wife and I watch Survivor. It’s one of the few television shows that we carve out time for each week. The show has three primary draws for us: First, we doubt we could ever go through the brutal stuff participants battle for 39 days. (The bug bites—just not for us.) Second, we enjoy the beauty of the show’s backdrop. The lush greens and soothing ocean blues from remote locations we’ll likely never get to see is awesome. Lastly, we love watching the social interaction. How people from all walks of life, all physical and athletic ability levels, and all socioeconomic and education levels interact. It’s intriguing!
(Warning: If you’ve not yet watched this week’s show—stop reading! Come back after you’ve seen it.)
This week, one of this season’s most powerful players, Marty, was sent packing. He survived long enough to get to the jury (final 12), but not to get close to the million-dollar prize.
Marty was a keen strategist from day one. He took the outwit aspect of Survivor’s outwit, outlast, outplay game description very seriously. And for more than three weeks, Marty did just that—outwit many of his opponents. He was savvy. Yet in the end, he fell prey to what ousts many players on Survivor—the tongue. The dude simply talked too much!
Does this ever happen in your small group? Do you have someone who’s a valuable member of your group, someone who everyone loves, yet their mouth seems to have an extra gear? They dominate every discussion—whether they know anything about the issue or not. Their prayer requests are long, and their prayers are even longer. Do you know this person?
The problem we have in small group community is that you can’t just vote them off the island! They’re part of us. So what can we do?
This is where a good small group leader will put his facilitation skills to work. He’ll strive to put the brakes on the chatty guy and seek to draw out the quiet guy. Using something like, “Thanks for your input tonight (Insert Talker’s Name), it’s been helpful. But we haven’t heard from a number of others. So let’s get their views.” Providing this sort of leadership, sometimes repeatedly, can help the talker begin to recognize there are others in the group who have something to offer.
This is not easy, just necessary. Talkers drive people crazy—then drive them away. Don’t let this happen in your small group. You can’t vote them off, but you can curb the talking.