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Whether you are going to lead a group of two or a group of twenty, we are here to help you every step of the way! You don’t have to be an expert in the material or at leading a group. It’s okay if you don’t have all the answers (only Jesus met that requirement!). The leader’s guide will provide answers to commonly asked questions and direct you to more information if you want to go deeper. If you still have questions you can email us and we will do our best to help.
History shows that true and lasting life change happens most often in the small group setting. We are praying for you as you help your small group ask the question, “Who is God and why does it matter in my life?” This journey has changed our lives and we can’t wait to hear how it influences you and your group!
Tips for Leading a Small Group
The first time you are together is a great opportunity to lay the foundation for your discussions. Ask each person if they can agree to the following:
What is discussed in the group stays in the group.Please do not talk with anyone outside the group about what group members share unless they give you permission.
Create an environment that welcomes discussion even when someone disagrees with you.We are all at different places in our spiritual journey.It’s God’s job to open our eyes to areas that need to grow and change.Our job is to know His Word, share what God is doing in our own lives and be there for others in their journey.If members of the group sharply disagree on an issue they must agree to disagree and move on or find another group.
Everyone engages in the conversation and no one monopolizes it.Obviously some are hesitant to talk about spiritual things in a group and some are enthusiastic about sharing everything they think about every question asked.As a group we will strive to be sensitive to everyone in the group and make sure all have a chance to share what God is teaching them.
Try to come to the group prepared.It’s hard to have great discussions if you haven’t read the material and thought about it.Some weeks it may not be possible to do, but we will strive to read the chapter and think through the questions before our group.
Guiding the Discussion:
Some of those who join your study may like to share their views about their family, work, or hobbies, but will be hesitant to talk about other ideas in depth. Other group members may get involved in heated discussions about subjects like political or denominational issues. Some may dominate the discussion or absorb class time talking about problems and never get to solutions. The following points will help you create a relaxed atmosphere and keep the group focused on the lesson material:
If possible, arrange seating to maximize eye contact and encourage participation.
Open each session in prayer.
You may not have time to adequately discuss every question, so spend your time on those most beneficial to your group.
Allow some silence after asking a question.People need “think time.”If there is no response after a reasonable wait, rephrase your question or ask a specific person to answer.
Avoid answering questions yourself.
If heated discussions occur and no resolution is in sight, ask the members to agree to disagree and move on.If they want to continue the heated discussion suggest they do it outside of the group time.
If some group members are having difficulty engaging in the discussion, direct a question specifically to them.Ie: “John, what do you think about question 3?”
If someone is monopolizing the discussion you can respond like this:“Thank you Dan.I’m wondering what others think about question 4.”
If questions arise that you don’t have the answer to simply say: “That’s a good question.I don’t know the answer, but why don’t some of us work on it this week and see what we come up with?”This engages others in the group to help find the answer!You can always email us if you need help!
Before your first gathering:
Connect with each person and make sure they have a book, know the time and place of the group and ask if they have any questions or concerns.
Make sure they know to read the first chapter before coming to the first group meeting so the group can discuss it.
Food is a good way to gather people and allow for time to chat before the discussion begins.Arrange for food and coffee etc.We recommend starting the time with 15 – 20 minutes food and fellowship.
How to use the Leader's Guide:
The first box will give the primary goal for each chapter discussion and tips for navigating the conversations
An ice breaker question is in the second box. This is a fun question designed to help the group get to know each other better and set the stage for discussing the chapter.
The Transition box will contain a couple sentences or a question you can use to transition from the Ice Breaker discussion to the discussion about the chapter.
Talk About it:
This section is the same as what you see in the book. We have added helpful information for the LEADER in red.
If you have any questions, please email us at: Kathy@brightmedia.org