Sabbath Morning 9:30
Ready for takeoff…check.
And you’re off and on your way to another exciting Sabbath school discussion!
Everything is moving along fine and in the middle of your session someone who has a pet issue or grievance attempts to hijack the class and take over the direction of the lesson. It may be done in a subtle manner by someone asking a controversial question or making a controversial statement.
How you deal with this delicate situation can determine the future effectiveness of your class. Sometimes this situation is caused by regular attendees of your class and you may already have noted the pattern of this person’s participation. Other times this situation may be brought about by non-members who are attending the discussion with an agenda that is quickly revealed.
Regardless of how the situation arises there are 2 facts that must remain true.
Fact 1. You are responsible for this class. Do not abdicate this to anyone. You have a right to direct the subject matter and the discussion.
Fact 2. We are to edify one another and encourage each other in the Christian walk. There is no place for negativity and general aspersions about anyone.
Successfully dealing with this takes special preparation. The first thing is to make sure that your weekly class has been a subject of much prayer. Ask God to prepare the hearts of those who come out that the truths of His word may find receptive hearts. Also, ask God to prepare you for any eventuality you may experience during your session. Ask and claim the promise of discernment and the grace to deal with all types of personalities.
Here are a few real-time techniques that may help you in these types of situations. The best way to deal with a distraction that will hijack your class is to simply say as you look directly at the person:
1) “Let’s hold that thought for now while we discuss the current subject” and go immediately back into the “right” discussion.
2) “Let’s hold that thought for after the lesson study and we can talk about it in more detail then” and go immediately back into the “right” discussion.
3) “I understand your point but we will not be dealing with that issue today” and go immediately back into the “right” discussion.
All 3 responses have one thing in common; the direction of the discussion will not be determined by whoever chooses, but by you, the leader of the class. Each of these responses should be given in a tone of voice that is free of irritation but forceful enough to convey your position.
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 NIV
Though confrontation is unpleasant, let’s do all we can to make sure that the passengers in our sessions arrive at the correct destination.
Have a great flight on Sabbath!