Home Small Group Leaders 4 Tips To Safely Vent at Small Group

4 Tips To Safely Vent at Small Group

In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Ephesians 4:26–27 NIV

Venting Personally. While everyone in your Small Group has the right and privilege to vent, the default audience is not the entire group. If there is a problem within the entire group, then by all means air it out in the group. But if the someone needs to vent against someone in the group, then that’s a smaller audience.

If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. Matthew 18:15 NIV

To make this work, we must be equally desiring both truth and love.

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. Ephesians 4:15 NIV

Truth by itself is not the answer. Truth alone is just data. It’s cold information, unfeeling, and not interested in people. Truth is also arrogant: it assumes that the other person is just as spiritually mature as you are. If truth is all there is, then you’re worshiping at the alter of arrogance, where being right is above everyone and everything else.

Love alone is just as bad. Being an emotional mush ball that always falls back when pushed is no help or support at all. Not being willing or able to stand up for the truth is just another way of falling down at the altar of feelings. Your need to be liked is above everyone and everything else.

A Personal Venting Failure

As Small Group leaders, we hold an incredibly awesome responsibility before God and one another. I remember someone starting a vent that was basically attacking everyone in the church. They were all spiritually immature and inferior. Everyone was taking advantage of him. No one appreciated him personally or the work he was doing. All the members were insensitive. All the staff was inept.

In my head I knew exactly what needed to be done. I needed to gently but firmly help my friend calm down and get control of his anger. Our Small Group was neither the time nor the place for this conversation. It was going to do nothing but inflame his anger and hurt everyone else.

So, I screwed up my courage and did nothing. Said nothing. I just sat there and let him vent. But more than just doing nothing, I did absolutely nothing. His venting wound up hurting lots of people in our Small Group. His unresolved issues rapidly escalated with him and others, causing a number of people to leave the Small Group and the church.

I’m not proud of what I did. Or what I didn’t do. What makes this story all the more tragic is that he had met with one of the leaders of the church for more than three years before this all happened. And that leader was me.

My problem is that I wanted to be liked more than anything else. That was my idol that needed to be confessed.

Ultimately, venting is something best taken directly to God. Read Job 3 through 37 and it’s one big venting party. But when God speaks in chapters 38 through 41, everything changes. And at the end of the book, what has Job learned? How has he been changed?

My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you Job 42:5

Venting, handled properly, brings people to the realization of who they are, who God is, and the changes that need to happen in their lives. And Small Groups are the right place for all that to happen.

This article originally appeared here and is used by permission.