How to Structure a Small Group

Here are some basic small group principles that will help you do your job as a Small-Group Leader.

It is not difficult to be a small group leader. All you need is:

  • The willingness to do so;
  • The commitment to read through all materials prior to the session;
  • The sensitivity to others that will allow you to guide the discussion without dominating it;
  • The willingness to have God use you as a small group leader.

Here are some basic small group principles that will help you do your job:

Ask the questions. Your role is to ask the questions. Let group members respond.

Guide the discussion. Ask follow-up questions (or make comments) that draw others into the discussion and keep the discussion going. For example:

"John, how would you answer the question?"

"Anybody else have any insights into this question?"

Start and stop on time. If you don't, people may be hesitant to come again since they won't know when they will get home.

Stick to the time allotted to each section. There is always more that can be said in response to any question. It is your job to make sure that the discussion keeps moving. Remember: it is better to cut off discussion when it is going well than to let it go on until it dies out.

Model answers to questions. Whenever you ask a question to which everyone is expected to respond (for example, a Beginning question as opposed to Bible study question), you, as leader, should be the first person to respond. In this way you model the right length—and appropriate level—of response.

Understand the intention of different kinds of questions.

  • Experience questions: The aim is to cause people to recall past experiences and share these memories with the group. There is no right or wrong answer to these questions. Such questions facilitate the group process by allowing people to share their stories and to think about the topic.

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