Leading Dynamic Discussions:
How to Keep Your Group on the Edge of Their Seats 1
Know What Type of Group You’re Leading
You’re about to lead your first small group meeting, but you don’t have a clue where to begin. This is the point where many new small group leaders freeze. Or you’ve been leading for years and have developed a bit of a ho-hum attitude about preparation and leading. You figure that good enough is good enough.
Neither of these attitudes will result in much satisfaction for you or for your group. There must be a better way!
Actually, there is. With a little preparation and understanding of group dynamics, you can lead dynamic meetings that keep your members on the edge of their seats. That keeps them eager to attend each meeting. That causes them to make your meetings a priority on their calendar.
And let’s face it. If they’re bored or don’t attend, they don’t grow.
Here’s the principle. If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there. So the first question is, do you have a goal for your group? There are many reasons for small groups to meet through a church ministry because there are many ways the ekklesia, the body of Christ, fulfills its function. Here are just a few, and note that these don’t have to be mutually exclusive. A good church will excel in all these functions and a good group can certainly do more than one as long as it’s clear what it’s doing and why.
A Militant Community:
This doesn’t mean that the ekklesia is a battleground (although sometimes it can be). What it means is that one role for the church is an army, forcefully advancing against the kingdom of darkness. We do this through evangelism, prayer, and spiritual warfare. This group’s goal is to introduce pre-believers to the love and grace of Jesus Christ, share the gospel of salvation with them, and when necessary, battle the forces of darkness on their behalf.
What this might mean in a small group is that you focus on writing and practicing your testimony, learning to share the gospel, inviting friends, neighbors, and co-workers to group activities, and getting them grounded in the faith and the ekklesia before turning them over to another group for more advanced discipleship. The militant community will focus primarily on evangelism and spiritual warfare, so their content and discussions will follow that approach.
Research has shown that one of the primary functions of the church, and one of the most attractive aspects to pre-believers is that of the family. Especially today when so many families are dysfunctional and where the orphan spirit is strong because of a lack of good parenting. Pre-believers and believers need to know they belong. They need to be nurtured, loved, and accepted. A group that does this well will always be a success.
For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, …
Think about the role of the family. It welcomes the newborn with love, grace, and care. It nurtures the child into maturity. It honors the role of the parents and the elderly. It reproduces and starts the whole process all over again. That’s what God intended the ekklesia to do. A family-oriented small group will focus on growing people up in the Lord through love and care.
A Therapeutic Community:
Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.
~ 3 John 2
Most new believers don’t leave their baggage behind when they accept Christ. Rather, they move in and settle down with all the hurts, habits, and hang-ups they have nurtured from childhood. Some of those wounds are known; others don’t become obvious until the person is in a safe place with a family that loves them.
It is the role of the church, and often small groups within the church, to identify the broken places and help the person to heal. In this way, the church is like a hospital. Small groups can offer ministries, teaching, and support specifically designed to bring healing and wholeness.
An Equipping Community:
Jesus never intended the ekklesia to be a place where the pastor or paid staff do all the work. The church is not a country club where the staff and budget are designed to pamper the members. Rather, Jesus designed the ekklesia to go on the offense against the gates of hell. Paul tells us that God placed in each local congregation all the gifts necessary to accomplish His will and that the role of leadership is to equip the members to do the work of the ministry so that each person can become mature and capable of discerning truth from error. We don’t become mature when we let the staff do all the work.
So one important function of a small group is to equip the members through Bible study, discipleship, mentoring, and ministry opportunities. It’s important for each person to know their spiritual gifts and how to use them for the benefit of the congregation. Much of that teaching can occur in a group setting among a small number of trusted friends.
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.~Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV
Once you’ve identified the type of group you have, you can decide What Type Of Study Will Meet Your Goal?