How to Facilitate Better Conversations
Do you long for productive and meaningful conversations your small group? There are several ways to be intentional about encouraging active, authentic discussion in your small group.
First, don’t be afraid of silence. Too often in small group life, we move on too quickly as though we’re afraid of a little bit of silence. Give people a chance to process and then allow them to respond.
Second, in order to have a good conversation, you need to ask good questions, including good follow-up questions. A small group’s conversation can be likened to the layers of an onion. People have many “layers” in their lives, and usually their first answer to any question is a safe answer. This is the first layer about themselves that they’re willing to share. But with each follow-up question you ask, you increase the potential that your group members will go one layer deeper in sharing about their lives.
The third way to have more effective conversations is to refrain from trying to fix people or their problems. Although there is a time and place for Godly counsel, be careful about dishing out simplistic answers and quick fixes.
Another tip is to keep pointing people back to God’s truth. It’s fine to offer our opinions, but it’s even better to let the perfect authoritative word of God speak for itself. If people disagree on how they interpret a particular passage, that’s OK. As long as their disagreement doesn’t ever become accusatory or offensive, it’s not a negative thing to have differing views and opinions in your group. Part of the beauty of a small group, and part of the beauty of the body of Christ is our diversity.
And finally, remember to follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit. The goal of your group is not to simply get through the curriculum, but to experience God’s word and Christ’s presence in your midst. Sometimes the Holy Spirit’s agenda for your meeting might be for your group to focus its attention on a particular person.
But to do this, we’ve got to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading, which might mean that we need to stop the regular group curriculum and spend more time listening, praying and just practicing the presence of Christ in that moment. The most important thing is staying available to what the Holy Spirit wants to do in that moment.
Listen online or download the Free MP3 message How to Develop Authentic Relationships from Love One Another
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