Home > Uncategorized > Stop Signs for Groups

Stop Signs for Groups

I’ve been helping a group work through some conflict.  It occurs to me that a four way stop provides some lessons for how groups should operate…

Think about it: When the drivers at a four way stop are behaving as they should, it’s a model of beautiful efficency.  First off, the cars have to stop, pause, and take note of current conditions.  Each car gets a turn to go, in an agreed upon order arrived at by mutual understanding of purpose.  Sometimes, a driver who’s having a good day will wave another driver on ahead of them, allowing the other driver to go out of turn.  The result is that we get where we’re going.

But when there is a lack of understanding or consideration, things don’t work so well at the four way:  Some drivers seem lost about whose turn it is, the result being lurches, start-n-stops, a breakdown in the travel process.  That’s when the exasperated horn blowing or finger waving starts.  A driver who completely disregards the sign puts themselves and others in danger.

Groups function best when there is a mutual, agreed upon understanding of the group’s purpose… when group members treat each other with respect and consideration, and occasionally let one of the other people “go ahead”… when we take time to pause and reassess current conditions.

The “one anothers” of Scripture are still the best ground rules anytime more than one person is involved in anything worthwhile.

And yeah, I’m pretty sure “the four-way stop” won’t replace “Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing” anytime soon, but it might just improve group life and effectiveness.


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