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5 Tools to Help You Lead More Effective Discussions

One of the key skills for a small group leader is the ability to effectively lead a discussion. This should be something we are ALWAYS trying to improve. Here's five good thoughts on how we can do this better:
  1. Get comfortable with the three magic words — ‘Do you think’(and ‘Do you feel’, ‘Do you imagine’, etc). Use questions like ‘What do you think Paul means by X?’ are much more effective than ‘What does Paul mean by X?’ It seems to me that one of the distinctive strengths of small groups is the opportunity they provide to wrestle togetherwith what the Bible says and discuss how to respond to him.
  2. Take the initiative to make yourself vulnerable and share your struggles. If you long for your group to be real with each other, you’ve got to set the tone. 
  3. Actually draw on all that stuff you’ve heard about different learning styles. It’s really important to make room for and support people who are more visual, hands-on or less inclined to feel confident sharing their views.
  4. Try to walk the line between making people feel welcome to pray out loud and recognising how culturally odd extemporary prayer is
  5. I understand that this may be culturally specific, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to spell out the ‘right answer’ all the time. People won’t remember what you tell them. They’ll remember and ‘own’ what they contribute. Your job is to help them engage honestly with God in his word and take steps toward maturity from wherever they are. 

I plundered this list from Chris Swann. You can read his entire post which provides more detail for each item in this list. Check it out here.

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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.

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