Balancing the Meeting Time

Managing your group's meeting time can be one of the harder aspects of leading; here are some tips to help you.

It happened again last night. Darryl led a great discussion of the Bible study, but there was no time left—again—at the end for prayer and worship. Darryl knows how important prayer is, but the group time is just an hour and a half, and he never has time for prayer. He'd also like to include worship in the meetings, but how?

How can Darryl keep a healthy balance in his meeting time?

I think that managing meeting time is one of the hardest jobs a small group leader has. If we have a good group, everything will take as much time as we can give it-good discussion, intense sharing, great caring, and yes, when time, meaningful prayer and worship. No wonder the early church met daily, lived together, created community. Many of us would if we could, and of course, the next best thing happens on Wednesday night-or whenever your group meets. So what can Darryl do?

When I have a group with only an hour and half, I try to spend no more than 45 or 50 minutes on the study itself. I know, I could spend hours leading a stimulating discussion, applying God's Word, watching people "get it." So could you. But the realities of life today is that if people are going to participate in a group at all, they can only devote a limited time to it. So the first step is to cut the study material in half or even in quarters. Consider no more than three or four questions, or whatever your group can handle in 45 minutes. I always want to cover too much. Studying God's Word is so exciting, but I'm learning that a few well-chosen questions with strong application will result in a lot more effective time in terms of changed lives than will a long, often rushed study time.

That leaves you 40 to 45 minutes. Spend 10 to 15 minutes at the beginning ...

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