Clusters aren’t bad. It speaks to our longing for community. We desire to be with people that are like us…that get us…that we can relate to. Why? Because we all want to be known. That’s why Jeremiah 29:11 and Psalm 139 speaks so deeply to each of us…God knows the plans and purposes He has for us. He knew us before we were even breathed our first breath of air.
We want to be known.
It’s when the clusters we choose to be in become our identity and even change the way we think and act. It’s when they begin to battle against other clusters that we have to step in and help students understand that the cluster has become unhealthy.
So what do you do when you have two groups of girls that are battling each other?
I had a chat with our pastoral care minister awhile ago and he had some amazing insights that I think would be great to pass along to you.
I have had groups not get along before…typically they are middle school girls. When this happens, I will usually address each group separately and then eventually bring the groups together. Sometimes, it is a little miscommunication that is causing a rub between the two groups. However, there are times when two groups really just don’t get along and begin to act on it. At this point, the groups move into something called GROUP THINK.
If I were to sit the two groups down, they may tell me what I want to hear but there will be no breakthrough.
I discovered from our pastoral care minister that the girls who were a part of these two groups may not really want to act the way they are but they also don’t want to lose the comfort, community, and safety of The GROUP…so they begin to put aside their individual responses and think the way THE GROUP would think.
It is when this begins to happen that it is important to help restore the individual’s ability to think, act, and feel.
One way of doing this is to bring a girl from each group together to have a conversation where the GROUP is not able to tell her how to think, act, and feel. Each girl has to do that for themselves. Allow each girl to share how they have felt when the other group behaved a certain way about them. This will help each of the girls begin to have some empathy and realize that their actions have an impact. Allow the conversation to progress so that the girls have an opportunity to make a difference. End the conversation with the girls determining consequences for when they themselves behave a certain way against the other group. This will hopefully allow the two girls to begin to work together to bring about a change for good.
Hopefully this will be helpful for you when some groups are having a hard time understanding how their words and actions are impacting other girl groups in your student ministry. And thanks to my pastoral care minister for working with me to think through some action plans.Tweet