The words he was greeted with on Sunday morning hit him like a brick, "You've got to do something about Kathy, She's driving us all crazy!" Tony had been leading a small group for about a year, but recently, because of the growth of their church, they have gained a few new members. Kathy was one of those people.
At first, the group was really glad Kathy had joined the group, but now it was becoming obvious that she just didn't fit in with the rest of the group. Kathy was recently divorced and had not been in a church since high school. She had come to the church mainly because of the small group ministry and thought the group environment would be a good way to deal with some of her life issues. The problem came when her problems seemed to take over the majority of the group discussion and people were getting tired of "helping Kathy."
Put yourself in Tony's shoes…what would you do? Perhaps the first thing to do is put yourself in Kathy's shoes. What does Kathy need? Is there a way for Tony to minister to his group and at the same time help Kathy move deeper in her spiritual journey?
When you look at Jesus' life and ministry, one thing that consistently characterizes His ministry is compassion. Jesus cared. When Zaccheus was struggling to see Christ, Jesus' response was "I'm coming to your house." Don't you think that Zaccheus qualified as an EGR (extra grace required)? Most of us would have told the little guy to get lost, or just ignored him, hoping he'd go away. Jesus did neither. He included him in His life.
I shudder at the thought of how many times a Zaccheus has shown up at a small group I've been a part of "trying to see Jesus" and instead of including them, we turned a cold shoulder and hoped they would ...