Not everyone shows up and starts vomiting their issues. We will start with low risk, then move to medium risk, and then high risk. Low risk are items like the weather, sports, clothes, or music. Medium risk is when I risk disagreeing with someone.
High risk is when I share something that you could hurt me with if you choose to. Temptations, failures, feelings, and struggles are high risk. High risk is going to be different for different levels of maturity.
High risk for a junior high student is revealing who they have a crush on, their fear of sitting alone at lunch, getting acne, or body odor. As we grow up, our high-risk confessions change. (Hopefully.)
If our Life groups never move into high-risk confession, they will stagnate. Individually, we will stagnate in Christ if we never engage in high-risk confession.
High-risk confession is accomplished over time and when the group proves itself trustworthy. High-risk confession may never be on the Life group agenda. It may occur between certain individuals within the Life group or there may be a holy moment that brings a high-risk opportunity into play. The reaction of leaders will determine whether or not your group will get there and stay there.
Leaders hinder high risk in one of two ways.
If we keep our masks on, the group members will keep their mask on. If we choose to NOT risk – neither will anyone else in the group.
Secondly, our reaction to someone else’s high risk confession. We will either lead them to further healing OR further guilt, fakeness, and shame.
What kind of reactions are we talking about?
- Inappropriate use of humor. When things get uncomfortable or too vulnerable, we’ll crack a joke. Humor can be an anesthetic. There is a place for humor but it can also be inappropriate.
- Quick advise. Nothing shuts up someone quite like someone else rattling off what they should have done. This screams “You idiot, that is so simple. I can’t believe you are struggling with this.”
- Broken confidences. Want to destroy a Life Group? Let this happen, then act like it didn’t. If folks can’t trust whom they are talking to, they will quit talking and showing up.
- Trite unauthentic responses. These are responses like “Well, God is in control.” “It will be okay when you get some rest.” “I am praying for you.”
- Judgmental statements. “I have no idea how you feel.” “How can you say that?” “Don’t say that!”
Any one of these will blow up a Life Group. People are only going to be real in a place that they think is both safe and they are loved.
Next Session: Application