Note: This article has been excerpted from the SmallGroups.com Suvival Guide Dealing with Divorce in Your Small Group.
Whether your small group is open or closed, or whether or not you always leave an empty chair, there's one uninvited guest hovering around the meeting place ready to barge into the proceedings. The longer your group lasts, the more likely this intruder is to make an appearance. The name of this party crasher is divorce.
The chances are good that either a couple or an individual in your small group will have to wrestle directly with this crisis, which means the entire group will deal with it as well. What should a small group leader do to prepare for the impact of divorce on individuals, couples, and the group?
The statistics about divorce are by now all too familiar. Half of all first marriages end in divorce, while 60 percent of all remarriages eventually fall apart. The divorce rates among evangelical Christians are little better than the rates of the population as a whole. Now plug these statistics into the life of a church small group. Logic tells you that small groups would not be immune to the problem, and logic would be correct.
This is especially true if the group stays together for a longer period of time. Dennis Anderson—pastor of adult ministries at Crossroads Covenant Church in Loveland, Colorado—estimates that if a group has been meeting for three or more years, the chances are better than 50-50 that someone in the group will be dealing with divorce. Almost every group has members who are affected by the divorce of a family member or a friend.
A small group leader must be alert to warning signs that a marriage is in trouble. The leader must ...