Those Divine Moments

5 Cues for Small-Group Leaders

"It's a bunch of garbage," Edna, the oldest and most outspoken member of my small group, mumbled.

I had been trained as a leader to sit directly across from the most difficult person.

Tonight, Edna fit the bill.She stared defiantly at me, challenging me to a mental duel.

I prayed silently for help, which was not unusual. I had never facilitated such a diverse group. Six Roman Catholics, three Protestants, and one agnostic. It took all I had to keep everyone on topic without tempers flaring.

The video we watched that night was on finding God's will. I asked the group how they felt about God guiding their lives. Discussion followed, but I noticed Edna was not participating. That was unlike Edna. "What do you think?" I asked her.

"I don't believe any of it," she said, shaking her head in disgust. "It's a bunch of garbage. That guy (on the video) is just a salesman trying to make money."

Everyone stared at her in disbelief. I swallowed and smiled and quickly asked someone else what they thought. Opinions flew back and forth, but Edna stood her ground. She finally got up and left.

I called her when I got home. Would she like to have lunch with me the next day? I was relieved when she agreed to meet me at Ricky's.

A nervous Edna faced me across a booth the following morning. For the next two hours, she told me about her difficult childhood in Holland, the hard war years, and the loss of three babies.

"This is the third time I've taken the course," she whispered, "and I still haven't found peace."

I dug through my purse and pulled out two identical booklets. "Would you mind if we read something together?" I asked her.

She looked around the restaurant as if I had offered her drugs. "Can we go somewhere else?" she asked. "I don't want the waitresses ...

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