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Why Didn't You Warn Me?: How to Deal with Challenging Group Members (Small Group Help Guides) [Paperback]

By Pat J. Sikora (Author)
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Item description for Why Didn't You Warn Me?: How to Deal with Challenging Group Members (Small Group Help Guides) by Pat J. Sikora...

Ensuring all members of a small group feel comfortable enough to participate openly can be a challenge, especially with diverse personalities. This guide helps leaders overcome the challenges of dealing with difficult group members.

Publishers Description

Whether starting a small group ministry or managing existing groups, the Small Group Help Guides are ideal for any leader who is looking for practical tips to lead a small group. The Small Group Help Guide series provides leaders with training that is interesting, innovative, and makes good use of limited time.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Standard Publishing Company
Pages   96
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.5" Width: 5.35" Height: 0.21"
Weight:   0.23 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 2007
Publisher   Standard Publishing Company
Edition  Student/Stdy Gde  
Series  Small Group Help Guides  
ISBN  0784720754  
ISBN13  9780784720752  

Availability  0 units.

More About Pat J. Sikora

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Pat J. Sikora is a popular author and conference speaker, and founder of Mighty Oak Ministries. She lives in Redwood City, CA with her husband, Bob. Pat has been involved with small group ministries for more than 30 years and has written and taught extensively on small group challenges.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Education > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Bible Study > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Ministry Resources
Books > Church & Ministry > Pastoral Help > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Why Didn't You Warn Me?: How to Deal with Challenging Group Members (Small Group Help Guides)?

Sikora Understands Problem Group Members Well  Mar 31, 2008
Pat Sikora has facilitated and participated in numerous small groups over the years. Now she's written a book in order to share some of this expertise. The primary focus of Why Didn't You Warn Me is to coach group leaders on how to deal with specific group members' hang ups, using hypothetical character sketches to pose problems they may present.

Sikora believes there are seven key principles for group leaders and they are as follows:

1) The purpose of any small group should be to grow its members to maturity in Christ

2) People grow when they interact with God's Word

3) People grow and heal best in community

4) A small group must be small

5) Minister to the Spirit rather than the soul

6) The group is more important than the individual

7) Love covers a multitude of challenges

Sikora looks at each of these principles in depth while providing leaders tips for interacting with members. If you've ever been caught in the situation of dealing with difficult group members, this book will prove invaluable. You'll definitely want to include it in your arsenal of resources for training group leaders.

Teena Stewart, Author, Successful Small Groups: From Concept to Practice

Practical and helpful  Nov 25, 2007
Over the past thirty years, I've become convinced that effective small groups are essential to healthy churches and organizations, no matter what their size. Effective small groups depend on effective leaders. And effective small group leaders are continually learning how to treat relational and interpersonal problems in ways that foster healthy groups and individuals

This is a practical, helpful book from an experienced small group leader. After describing several principles that form the foundation for small group ministry, the author introduces a host of relational and interpersonal challenges that can emerge in any small group. Especially important is her challenge for leaders to deal with "unhealed areas in our lives or habits that are unpleasing to God, ourselves, and others" (19). As we do that, we are able to objectively and redemptively handle the discussion and character challenges we face. Those challenges include chronic talkers, quiet individuals and groups, those who use overly religious jargon, those who are dogmatic or overly argumentative, and those with significant emotional difficulties.

If you're a small group leader, you will find this short book full of practical wisdom. If you train small group leaders, you will discover a well-written book that you can use for leadership training.
Leading A Small Group? Then You Need This Book  Sep 2, 2007
With solid insight, Pat Sikora will show you how to solve some of the key difficulties of a small group. Leaders need help to steer through the landmines of small groups. Each of these 18 problems can derail your discussion unless the leader knows about them and prepares for them ahead of time. Whether you are looking to solve a problem like gossip or simply doing preventative maintenance, this book will be a huge help to any small group leader.
Training for the EGRs (Extra Grace Requireds)  Aug 24, 2007
Gossip, rabbit trails, discussion domination, control freaks, mental and emotional problems, people who don't want to pray...who wants to lead a small group?

Small group leadership is extremely messy, but there is absolutely no way to adequately prepare a person for the surprises of leadership; we can only coach them through it. Why Didn't You Warn Me? is a great resource for that type of coaching.

Why Didn't You Warn Me? is a short but information-packed, practical book. In fewer than 90 pages, Pat introduces us to 18 challenging personalities that are sometimes encountered in small group ministry, and she gives step-by-step ideas and advice on how to pray for, approach, and tackle each one. From the ubiquitous discussion challenges like Mona Monopoly and Rhonda Rabbitrail to more difficult character challenges like Griselda Gossip and Travis Troubled, Pat succinctly outlines both the proper approach and-- perhaps more importantly-- the Biblically appropriate attitude for dealing with each.

Here are some of the strengths I found in the book:

Starts with Self-Examination. I really liked the fact that the book started out with self-examination. All good leadership begins by being a leader worth following, and you can't surgically remove sawdust from the eyes of others until you deal with the log in your own. Pat devotes the first two chapters of the book to helping leaders "deal with their own stuff" and become leaders worth following.

Prioritizes Prayer. Pat also does a fantastic job of establishing the priority of prayer in the process of working through difficult people and situations. Sometimes, we can get so caught up with trying to clean up, work around, hide, or ignore the mess that we forget about the power of prayer.

Emerges from Experience. The book obviously emerges from a place of experience. Pat has been involved in small group ministry for more than 30 years, and it is evident from her writing. This is not just theory, it's coming from the place of a practitioner. As you read about each challenging personality, you know that Pat actually knows these people by name and face. She has walked through these messes and emerged on the other side with hope and Biblical principles for leading through them.

The only criticism I would offer is related to the layout. I loved the pull quotes and statistic boxes, but the book looked extremely busy to me. It was distracting. Some of the pictures of people tossed randomly throughout the pages were just odd or goofy looking. It felt like it was trying too hard to be cool, hip, and relevant. But that is a publishing problem and not a content problem.

For future editions of the book, I would offer a new personality: Robbie Relativist or Polly Pluralist. One of the new challenges in groups, especially among younger Christians, is the postmodern approach to Scripture: "this is what it means to me; what does it mean to you?," "this is what is true for me," "I don't think that's what God would want for us," etc. Rhetoric that exposes our pluralistic, relative, or non-absolute truth tendencies. I think it would be helpful to have a chapter on how to keep groups and discussion rooted Biblically and under the authority of Scripture when people are more likely to drift into "this is what it means for me" kinda discussion.

This book could be a great supplement to a small group training program or for use in a coaching environment. It is extremely practical. Be sure to check out Pat's blog- to continue the discussion or to find ongoing training and discussion about the adventures of small group leadership.
Group Dramatics  Jul 23, 2007
In the interest of full disclosure I will admit to having had Pat in several of my training sessions when we had an Equipping Center in San Mateo, CA. She was an alert and lively learner who eagerly soaked up everything I taught about Christian growth and healing. Pat has taken her insights to a deeper level of practice.

When I was consulting with the Cell group Movement in Singapore church leaders would say, "Small Groups are Powerful! indicating that small groups were effective places to evangelize unbelievers, disciple believers and heal broken believers.

Pat Sikora also believes and states those things nicely but she adds another part to the mantra: "Small groups are powerfully good or powerfully bad". Pat wisely trains her readers how to minister to the "good, the bad and the ugly" in groups.

Many churches start groups with great excitement but close them prematurely because they do not deal well with "Challenging Group Members" who show up. One or two unchallenged member can destroy the group, turning group dynamics on its head. Instead of growth, healing and evangelistic outreach the group chokes on its members' dysfunctions.

As you read Pat's neat little book, you will find that she humorously describes many of the "Characters" who are attracted to our groups and lays out the various ways a lay leader can successfully deal with them in truth and love. Pat is caring but she is also realistic about how much a group leader can do. She shows unusual candor and courage by lovingly addressing chronic problems without stooping to co-dependency.

Pat wisely includes specific hints, proven over the centuries to be growth producing, that leaders can use to calm and motivate members. She shows how one's voice and non-verbals can cover a multitude of sins and problems. If you ever work with Sunday school classes, committees, task forces or Bible studies, get her book and enjoy its useful insights.

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