(I’ve hung out with Greg Darley a lot. Whenever I’m at a conference and feel like I don’t know anyone, Greg will magically appear and everything is right with the world. He’s got a great heart for ministry and a great sense of humor. I thought his post today was funny and true. I hope you do too.)
The obvious and most chosen route is to go with in a small group setting is the book option. You all choose a book, which the first one brought up has to be the 5 Love Languages. But in every group there’s one couple that has “already done that like 7 times”, a couple that “read that a long time ago” and the couple that has no clue what a love tank is. So, after much debate, you by pass the 5 Love Languages and move on to another title. The goal is to read a chapter a week and discuss the following meeting. Ahhhh. Such lofty goals. But, after a few weeks, you discover the following type of group members.
Mr. and Mrs. Over-prepared
This is the couple that read the chapter through multiple times. They underline, highlighted, and starred their favorite parts. They then made a list of all the areas that were extra special to their marriage. But they couldn’t just stop with one chapter, they read ahead. And they find a way to drop that in the conversation like, “Yeah, that’s a great point. Reminds me of the thing the author said in chapter 7 about praying together. You guys will notice that in a few weeks.” Everyone flips through their copies to double check that indeed they are on chapter 2.
Johnny and Susie Read-it-on-the-way-over
When the group leader opens the discussion with “was everyone able to read this week,” Johnny and Susie are honestly able to look at each other, smile and then say together, YES! This is your classic case of a test crammer. Sure there was plenty of time to read the 8 pages during the week, but there were 7 different CSI’s to watch, soccer practice and don’t forget the fact that the book was left in the car from last week’s meeting. On jumping in the car 5 minutes late to leave, the passenger sees the book and proceeds to read out loud. There’s usually not enough time to read the entire chapter so you have to make a decision. Do you read the headlines and get a quick over view or do you hone in on one section and use that for every question asked? It’s a tough call and its best to mix it up over the next few weeks.
When asked if they read it, each week the Slackers give a simple and honest NO. They are sorry. They really wanted to they say. They just didn’t have time. They obviously don’t know everyone in the group too well or they would have taken a lesson from Johnny and Susie. The Slackers always seem to add a lot of Yeahs and Me Too’s to the conversation. At the end of the meeting when the leader reminds everyone of what chapter to read next week, the Slackers both agree that they will, then they don’t.
This is your typical 50% input where one spouse read and the other didn’t. Sharing 1 book is hard, so the spouse that didn’t read blames the other for hoarding the book all week. The other spouse then reminds him/her that the book was on the nightstand all week, where it always is. On the way over, the unread spouse tries to get the Cliff Notes version, and depending on how well the day went, some information might be disclosed. If it was a bad day, be prepared to see people getting thrown under the bus. The setup is almost too easy as the group leader asks a question and the spouse that read turns to the unread spouse and says, “Honey, what did you think about that part?” Many a fight has come from this situation. Its best to avoid this situation like the plague. Either you both read or you both don’t.
“I’m pretty sure that’s not what Paul meant when he wrote that. The Greek participle that conjugates the personal pronoun of the antecedent is modifying the indirect object of the previous sentence, therefore the verse is saying that it was actually a group of pigs, not a single herd.” Just a little secret that Mr. Technicality doesn’t want you to know, he doesn’t really know Greek, he just memorizes the notes at the bottom of his study Bible and he has read almost all of three John Piper books. It can be scary to answer questions with him around. Who knows if you’re pronouncing the name right in the genealogy. Was that an “eck” or an “ick”? You don’t know, but luckily Mr. Technicality does.
Those are the five types of folks I’ve run into most often.
How about you? Who did I miss?
(For more great stuff from Greg, check out the cool idea he runs called Backstage Leadership.)