Practices of a Small Group Leader: Leading an Effective Bible Study Conversation

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smuggler bleeder your goal one of your

primary goals is to host an effective

conversation of Bible study there are

just a few things you might want to keep

in mind if you're going to make that

happen first of all be an active

listener and now you may wonder what

does he mean by being an active listener

a person is an active listener when

someone else is speaking is looking into

their eyes is giving some visual that

they're listening and they are actually

hearing what the person is saying rather

than thinking what their response is

going to be but mostly there's a visual

thing so if someone is answering a

question you'll be looking at them into

their eyes

giving them some senseof I'm hearing you

so I'm nodding my head it could be that

I'm leaning forward some kind of posture

that says I'm hearing what you're saying

so that they know you're listening to

them many small group leaders tell me

that they don't have a great

conversation a Bible study and as

they're speaking with me I know why it

looks like they don't care that they're

having a conversation you want to be an

active listener now you also want to

create a conversational environment

always do the Icebreaker don't skip over

the Icebreaker even when people don't

want to do it also be certain you set

your chairs in a circle so that people

can look into one another's eyes so when

someone is speaking they can be engaging

with the person who is sharing a thought

and so that they can then easily respond

to that thought without feeling awkward

and if you also it's vital that if

you're going to create a conversational

environment that you lead the way when

you ask a hard question maybe you want

to respond first to that question and

others will probably join in there you

need to realize that there are four

stages of communication and that over

time we'll get to that fourth stage it

doesn't happen in the first meeting

sometimes people move forward faster

than other some groups move forward

faster than others but just be aware

that you can kind of gauge how your

group is doing when it comes to

vulnerability and authenticity by

watching this progression and maybe

asking questions that lead to deeper

questions the first stage is small talk

it's kind of how you do today had your

day go those kinds of things just kind

of small talk we would say to one

another if we passed each other in the

hallway the second stage is facts and

here we talk we just basically share


information with one honor another for

instance if it was sports scores you

know somebody might say John heard the

Bengals got crest heard John saw the

news today there's a cold front moving

in we're just talking about things that

are happening and sharing facts now when

you move further with people and they

begin to feel more comfortable that

you're going to be willing to hear what

their ideas are and their opinions are

we then get into that third phase and

that is ideas and opinions at this point

people will share their ideas and

opinions and even defend them in a nice

way they know that their ideas will not

be discounted as they share them so for

instance you might say to someone John I

think the biggest coach is one of the

worst coaches in the league

realizing that maybe pushed back and you

might have a real good conversation

about why we differ on that or maybe

someone would say when it comes to the

weather instead of saying you know good

weather today when you move to this face

someone might literally say I don't

believe in all that global warming stuff

realizing it might lead to a further

conversation that realize levels of

trust are moving forward each time also

so I'm beginning to trust you at this

first level that you didn't push back on

me in a way that was unkind early on so

then I moved to stage two feeling it's

comfortable to discuss these things then

stage three I can share an opinion with

this person and even if we disagree our

relationship is not going to be tainted

and then when we really get to a place

we need to be we're talking feelings so

we might say to John John I've had a

rough week I've been feeling downright

miserable and we get to share what our

heart is sensing not just what our mind

is thinking at this point it is at this

place that people are realizing that

this is a safe haven for me to talk

about real life issues and it is in this

spot where people begin to share real

prayer concerns a prayer concerns that

will guide them toward hope and help and

know that they will be loved no matter

what a small group leader realize this

when it comes to having a kind of

conversation that you want you were the

model model of what you want group

members to do if you want them to speak

ideas and opinions then that's what

you're going to model so you need to do

a real good inner search of yourself and

ask your

of this question am i a person who only

talks at that level is that kind of

where I'm comfortable because if that's

where you're willing to go that's the

level that your group members will go if

you want them to share their feelings

you must model that you're gonna have to

talk about your own feelings in your own

journey even your own mistakes and

mishaps when you do that your group

members will do that which allows them

for transformation to take place because

feelings come from the heart and the

heart is where transformation truly

takes place we want to be knowing what's

going on in the heart

people revealing what's going on in the

heart so that we can then move them

toward heart transformation and remember

this the goal of a conversational Bible

study is not to have a good conversation

let me say that again way too many small

group leaders walk out of a group

meeting thinking man that was fantastic

when the truth was God's Word was not

the centerpiece of the conversation the

goal of a small group conversation a

conversational Bible study a

conversation that transforms is to first

realize that when we're together we're

wanting to hear from God and we hear

from God through his word so you just

can't let everybody's opinion on what a

passage means be the bottom line what I

like to tell small group leaders is this

lots of ideas can circle the runway but

the responsibility of the small group

leader is to make sure that the truth of

God's Word lands if you keep these

things in mind I think your small group

meetings will not only be effective

they'll be transformational thanks a lot