Practical Tips for Leading Revolutionary Small Groups, Part 1

Tuesday 7th November, 2006

anadultstudygroup.jpg

In my previous blog entry, I mentioned a resource from Officers' Christian Fellowship that is available on the web entitled, Leading Effective Small Groups. There is a section of that material which offers Practical Tips. Allow me to add my commentary to the first 10 of the resource's 20 tips:

  1. Start and end on time. Consistency is important in developing good habits. Today people are often more concerned with how they spend their time than their money.
  2. Make sure the room set-up is such that everyone can see everyone else. This fosters participation. Since 93% of communication is nonverbal (gestures, facial guestures, and tones), it helps to foster better understanding and communication. This may appropriately limit the size of the group.
  3. Design the room set-up and rules of engagement so that there is a minimum of distraction. Choosing space through which others will not need to pass will limit interruptions. Covenanting with each other about silencing phones and about childcare can head off potential distractions.
  4. If your group is young in the faith, consider having multiple copies of the same translation of the Bible. Today there are many translations available from which individuals may choose. This may assure an easily understood translation, and it may help some participants find passages more easily when you refer to the passage by page number.
  5. Avoid praying or reaching around the circle. The number one fear in America is public speaking. Asking someone, without prior permission, to read aloud or pray is asking them to do public speaking. In addition, we cannot assume that everyone can read or read well enough that they feel comfortable doing so in front of a group.
  6. Include a short review of previous weeks if the flow of thought is important. This helps to catch up any who miss. This helps to reinforce truths. This helps explain direction. This reinforces the concept of faithful attendance. This also helps to reinforce learning.
  7. Start with easy questions. This helps to break the ice. It gets participant's minds in the room. It gets them talking. These early questions should be leading the group to begin thinking about the truth for the day.
  8. Seek to involve everyone in the interaction. Don't allow one or two individuals to do all the talking. You may want to ask if there is anyone else who has not responded who wants to add something. Working to involve everyone is another reason to keep the group small.
  9. Don't call on specific people to respond. You can seek prior permission to call on some, but others (who have not given their permission) may fear you will do the same with them. Be careful that this fear may drive someone away from the group.
  10. Don't let all the questions and response come to you, the leader. Encourage the group to respond to each other. Allow the group experience to become more naturally conversational, flowing in multiple directions.

Facilitate an great group experience. Facilitate an encounter with God. Involve. Interact. Participate. Be revolutionary!

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