Skip to main content

Small Group Leaders, Listen Up!

thanks to Ben Reed for these good thoughts.

The way that you apply any given Scripture is flavored by your life experiences. It’s inevitable. Hopefully you don’t rely on your life experiences as your interpretive grid, but to work through applications based on where you find yourself in life is appropriate (sorry…I’ll stop the hermeneutics lesson now).

I find myself as a small groups pastor, getting ready to train new small groups leaders. I’m reading through Scriptures, and as I do, small groups applications come to mind. Here’s what I read:

Be quick to listen, slow to speak. -James 1:19

Small group leaders need to remember this when leading their small group:

1. Listen intently to people’s stories. Knowing where somebody has come from and why they gave that particular answer will be unbelievably helpful for you as you lead that person. Listening to and remembering people’s stories makes them feel that you care, and is a way you can love your group members.

2. Ask questions and wait for answers. Don’t ask a question and give your answer first. Let others chew on it and share their thoughts. Some people are slower to answer than others. They may be more contemplative and take longer to process their answers. Or, they may simply be polite and not want to talk over anybody. As the group leader, be okay with silence.

3. Observe body language. Communication happens verbally and non-verbally. Don’t neglect either.

4. Ask follow-up questions. Instead of taking an answer at face value and moving on, linger for a while. Ask a follow-up question that draws the answer out a bit more. Ask the group for feedback. Listen for similarities and differences in response, and connect them.

The goal of a small group is not for the “right” answer to be the first answer.

Work to facilitate discussion.

Work to listen more and talk less.


Popular posts from this blog

Discussion Questions for Easter

Have several people ask the question, “What’s the most important thing you’ve ever done?”
Ask other people, “What do you hope to accomplish in the next several years of your life?”
Tell your class that today you’ll be talking about “life mission” or the one most important thing you do that drives everything else. Tell them that Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is the defining moment in history, so it should be the defining moment in our lives.
Read 1 Corinthians 15:12-19. How does the resurrection impact some of the crucial beliefs of Christianity? 
How would Christianity be different if there was no resurrection? How would you be different without the resurrection?
Read 1 Corinthians 15:50-58. What are some specific ways that the resurrection gives us hope?
If you had been a friend of Jesus when he was on earth, how would the resurrection have impacted your life? 
How do you think his followers then were effected by the resurrection?
Read 1 Corinthians 15:58. What do you t…

20 Questions to Build Group Connections

Here is a great exercise for a new group. The instructions are pretty simple. Go around the group giving each person the opportunity to choose one question and answer it honestly. Anyone can follow-up with an opinion or clarifying question (no critiquing each other's answers, though). Once a question has been answered, no one else may answer that question.

If your group is larger, you may want to alter the rule and allow each question to be answered 2 or 3 times. Ideally, each person should end up answering 3-5 questions.

As the leader, pay attention to the conversation. Let the discussion run its course as this is how people in the group build their relationships with one another. You can use these questions, modify them or create your own.

21 Bible Passages With Which Every Small Group Leader Should Be Familiar

Matthew 5:23-24.
23"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

Luke 10:1-11.
1After this the Lord appointed seventy-two[a] others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.

5"When you enter a house, first say, 'Peace to this house.' 6If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. 7Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to hous…