Jump directly to the Content

3 Ways to Handle Problem People

Every small group has them. Here's what to do with them.

If your church has adult small groups, chances are the people in those groups are not passing "do-you-like-me?" notes or punching the people next to them. But there's a good chance that some or all of the groups have problem people. Whether you would like for folks to stop or start certain behaviors, there are three major approaches that can be effective in small group settings.

First, the behaviorist approach uses reinforcement (both negative and positive) to change behavior. It is extrinsic, immediate, and efficient. Second, a human relations approach uses cooperative relationship to adjust behavior. It is intrinsic, internally sanctioned, but—like relationships—it takes time. The last approach is pedagogical. This is a proactive approach that avoids potential issues by adjusting the physical environment and being intentional about our teaching methods.

Let's look at how three common types of problem people could be addressed with each of these approaches.

The talker who dominates ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

From the Magazine
The Woodstock Generation Swallowed Me Up and Spit Me Out
The Woodstock Generation Swallowed Me Up and Spit Me Out
One summer in a hippie commune soured me on the ’60s counterculture. God met me in my disillusionment.
Editor's Pick
Jesus’ Miracles Showcase More Than His Power. They Reveal His Pastoral Nature.
Jesus’ Miracles Showcase More Than His Power. They Reveal His Pastoral Nature.
Learning from the Good Shepherd’s gentle care.
close