Extra Grace Required

Groups can take a lot of work—what to do when you're just plain burnt out.

If you've been reading Darryl's Dilemmas for a while, you know that many of the people in Darryl's group are "high need." They are what Carl George has called EGR's (Extra Grace Required) or ECR's (Extra Care Required). Some have many health problems, while others have some emotional instabilities. Darryl is tired most of the time from caring for this group. He loves these people, and he want to help them, but he is getting burned out.

What should Darryl do?

Poor Darryl. I was wondering when this would happen. The question is whether he is the victim of his church's small group program or of his own needs or inexperience. Maybe both. So how does he deal with his burnout?

Probably his most immediate need is to embrace his own humanity and vulnerability. Yes, he is human. No, he doesn't need to do it all. He can look at his need to be needed and his need to be in the middle of everything. Most of us, especially us leaders, have at least a touch of this weakness. It is birthed in the joy of meeting needs, fed by the praises of those we serve, and becomes toxic in our quest for perfection. Pretty soon we begin to believe our own press and actually believe that we are indispensable. We believe that we are the best person — nay, the only person — who can adequately meet every need. We thrive on the ambrosia of serving. Then we burn out.

So what can dear Darryl do? Short range, he can delegate the "business" of the group. He can identify one or more members in his group who most closely meet the qualifications of a leader and recruit them as co-leaders or apprentices to help with the ministry. Then he can also identify the gifts and talents of the rest of the group. He may even want to take a break and have everyone ...

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