COVID SAFE: Small Groups & Personality Types
Well, your leadership team has been given the green light for your small group ministry to begin the process of post COVID 19 "in person" home gatherings. For some of you, you are super excited to hear that news but for others, it brings up a little anxiety and concern for those people in your small group ministry. As you navigate the "in person" small group gatherings, it is helpful to remember that there are people at varying levels of emotions during this season. Please remind your leaders to be gracious and flexible as they navigate the personalities and emotions within their groups.
Here are a few of the personality traits and their descriptions that I created to help our small group leaders as they prepare for their first post-COVID "in person" small group gathering:
Rebel Rob: Rebel Rob is excited about getting back to seeing people in his group. He has always been considered a rebel when it comes to rules and guidelines. He doesn't mean any harm but will do everything he can to not wear a mask, not wash his hands, not stay 6’ apart, or anything that looks like or smells like a “rule”. Gently remind Rebel Rob that it is not about the rules but it is about creating a safe and secure space for ALL of the group members and to adhere to the guidelines during all group meetings.
Super Sanitized Sally: Super Sanitized Sally loves Purell Hand Sanitizer and probably has stock in the company by now. She is super sensitive to germs and always takes a bottle of hand sanitizer with her whether she is sitting, standing, walking, sleeping, or even doing nothing. You can count on Super Sanitized Sally to give two (or three extra squirts of hand sanitizer to all who attend.) We are grateful for Sally and her heart to help everyone stay well! Please give her extra grace and let her know the group members will let her know if they need an extra squirt of sanitizer.
Hugger Heidi: Heidi is a hugger! It’s in her nature. She loves and nurtures everyone in her path. It’s been a hard and long few months for her because she thrives on personal AND physical interactions. She is so excited about seeing all of you whenever you meet in person and she will naturally offer free hugs (big hugs) to everyone who arrives for your group time. I know it will be difficult for her and she may feel a little unloved at first but remind her that virtual hugs can be just as effective to relay her message for love and care for each of her group members during this time. You can remind her that it will not be long until she can HUG again but for now, let’s do our best to use social distancing and refrain (as hard as it may be) from physical touching. She may be okay with it but Super Sanitized Sally would likely die from physical exposure or would definitely run out of sanitizer.
Online Otis: Online Otis has been happy as can be with this new “stay at home” order. See, Online Otis is an introvert and sometimes social interaction takes a lot out of him and drains most of his energy. He absolutely loves joining his LifeGroup online in his shorts or his PJ’s. It allows him the option of muting, turning off his camera, or simply chatting “my wifi is going down - see ya!” at any point during his online group meeting. Don’t get me wrong, Online Otis LOVES his group but he also LOVES his alone time. Allow Otis the opportunity to join the group meeting online, but let him know you will be excited whenever he is ready to join the “in person” group meeting.
Vulnerable Vinny: Vulnerable Vinny would consider himself in the vulnerable group. He has had some health issues in the more recent past and he is very concerned that this virus or any illness could potentially not set well with his current health condition. He has decided to stay indoors and feels mostly safe and comfortable in his own home. He will come back to group one day but he has decided to just join in online for his health concerns. Reassure Vulnerable Vinny that he is making the RIGHT choice for him, his family, and for his group. Encourage him because he would really love to be there but he wants to take all the warnings seriously. This is a great time to go the extra mile to make sure he feels included and not left out by joining online. One idea is to make a life-size figure by taking some pants and a shirt and stuffing it with pillows or towels. For the head, place an iPad where the head would be and this will be a great reminder that Vulnerable Vinny is part of the group. You could actually sit Hugger Heidi right up close to him (well, the life-size figure of him) and she can hug Vulnerable Vinny (well again, the lifesize figure of him) anytime she wants to without social distancing. There's a solution I bet you never thought of! :)
Remember, we are not trying to put “labels” on anyone but I do want to help us prepare for the different types of personalities that will be in our groups. Please use extreme grace but also ensure that you are providing a SAFE and SECURE space for ALL types of personalities within your groups! Let me know if you have another personality type that you have been thinking about or that may best describe you! If our team can of be of any help to you or your church as you navigate this season, please give our team a call or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a reminder, 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us, "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind..." Our prayer is that this brief overview of what type of personalities might be coming to a small group gathering will help you and your small group leaders live out this verse as you faithfully serve each other and your community.
Stay well and Keep Looking Up!