Spiritual Growth is the primary goal for small groups. As leaders I know that your desire is to lead an interesting, enjoyable, and impactful conversation about the Bible passage to help others achieve spiritual growth. How can we do that? We will look at some guidelines I have found that will assist you in this endeavor.
Whether you are using the Message Based Questions or another Bible study, ask yourself, “What is the heart of the lesson?” (i.e. the “main truth”) Identify the questions that reveal this “heart” in greater detail. Categories of such questions include:
- Informational/Fact: What is it?
- Opinion/Reflection: How do I feel about it?
- Application: How can I use it?
Also, as a facilitator of a discussion, usually it’s most effective to be quiet and encourage the other group members to participate. This could involve encouraging the shy members as well as dealing with the “motormouths.”
The effective management of discussion time creates the best environment for the spiritual growth of your group members.
Consider the P & T approach to effectively manage your group’s time: How many people (P) should participate and how much time (T) should be spent on a particular question in order to maximize the discussion’s impact. Keep in mind that one person is probably adequate to cover Info/fact questions. The other categories of questions — those that hit at the heart of the lesson — require more participants. Spend more time on those questions that foster growth. This may require skipping some questions and/or interrupting less productive discussions by saying “let’s move on.”
A “typical” small group time breakdown may break down as follows:
- Share (e.g. Ice Breaker) 20%
- Reflect (Bible study) 60%
- Care (Prayer) 20%
If a 90 minute group starts at 7:00, the above may work out as follows:
- 7-7:15 Share
- 7:15-8:15 Reflect
- 8:15-8:20 Care.
If time is tight for your group, be sure to train everyone to arrive early.
Encourage your members to review the questions in advance during the week before the meeting. This can lead to more introspective, quality responses when the meeting takes place and also encourages private meditations on the spiritual truths covered in these lessons. This is where spiritual growth can really take place.
If you have any questions or need additional training, please contact your Coordinator.