Small group schedule conflict: What to do, what to do…

I was talking with a Bible study leader this afternoon about a calendar conflict that we didn’t catch until the last minute: the girls’ basketball home opener. It might not be a big deal to a lot of people, but since his study is made up almost exclusively of male athletes, it was big for them. His Bible study usually meets about half an hour before the scheduled tip-off. Uh-oh. What did he do and what did he learn from this dilemma?

Obviously, lesson one is pay better attention to key schedules that might impact the people in your group; athletic schedules, community calendars, et cetera, are always filled with events that might conflict with your own.

Lesson two is that these events have the potential to break you. If a majority of your group decides they want to go and you ignore that desire, you can seem insensitive and/or out of touch. Neither is a great vibe to be putting out. Depending on the commitment level of your people, this can cripple future involvement and current momentum.

On the flip side, lesson three teaches us that these events can be positive as well. The Bible study leader I mentioned earlier decided to cancel his “study” time in favor of having the group gather for a few minutes to pray together and grab a quick meal before going to the game. In doing so, he’s letting them know that he is aware of the conflict and their desire to support their school and their friends. He’s also giving the impression that their time together is not just about punching their “Jesus card” for the week, but doing life together, supporting one another and caring about similar concerns. Instead of forcing people to choose between friends and Jesus, he’s teaching them that Jesus cares about their friends too.

I’m glad he’s making the choice he has, I think it’s a great decision for a young leader to make, and not one that comes automatically to everyone. That said, I know there are times to take a stand too, that there are calendar challenges that need to go the other way. The hard job of the leader is recognizing which direction to take when the time comes.

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