In my last blog I explained what our role is concerning Sponsors. Our role as a CR Ministry is to educate the newcomer about the importance of finding a Sponsor, the role of a Sponsor, and the characteristics to look for in a Sponsor. Today I am going to talk about what our role is not.
Once a participant has the tools to choose a Sponsor wisely, the ultimate decision is theirs to make. At the CR Model we do not assign or oversee these relationships. Our role is not to assign Sponsors, or Accountability Partners, for that matter. Years ago I learned of a step study group leader who thought it best to assign Accountability Partners, rather than allow the group participants to get to know each other and choose for themselves. She proceeded to assign the person on their left. Since Step study groups are not issue specific, she wound up pairing up a co-dependent with an addict. This arrangement ended up hurting the individuals, the group and the group leader.
Anyone who has met the basic requirements to Sponsor should be encouraged to take on this responsibility. (To find the prerequisites to Sponsor go to your Advanced Leadership Training Guide; Modular 9 Training Sponsors) There may be several attendees qualified to sponsor, but not yet able to meet all of your leadership requirements. They, too, may sponsor others as part of serving in the ministry. If you only allow your group leaders to sponsor the newcomer you are setting your leaders up for leader burnout! What happens when your CR Ministry grows from 10 to 50 to 100 or even 500 people? At the CR Model we have 96 leaders and over a 1,000 participants. I’ll burnout just thinking about it!
Our role is not to manage these relationships. We do not recommend trying to control these relationships. (By the way, we have a group for thatJ) However, Ministry Leaders may, and should, hold CR Leaders accountable. We are responsible for our leadership, therefore should conflicts arise between a Sponsor and a Sponsee, the Ministry Leader may provide guidance and help towards reconciliation. Let it suffice to say that in the case of a non-leader Sponsor and Sponsee conflict that is causing harm to the overall health of your CR Ministry, you must intervene.
It’s easy to feel anxious for the newcomer. After all we know what works. But, we must allow God’s power to work in the hearts and minds of our newcomers.