Homework for Adults

Most of us don't like homework, but it can be fun and beneficial in our small groups.

Just the sound of the word makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. In my mind race images of Mrs. Ray, my mean, old fifth-grade teacher, assigning us eight hours’ worth of math word problems … due tomorrow! Every minute of homework meant one less minute of playtime. I hated homework!

Some adults still have that same kind of aversion to homework. Mention homework in your small group, and watch mouths droop and shoulders slump.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. When handled right, homework can be a positive, enlightening, encouraging opportunity. When a group has done its assignments, there is less of a chance for "sharing ignorances." People learn how to discover the truths of Scripture for themselves. It is easier to keep a passage of Scripture in context if the group reads passages in advance. People who usually would not open up in a small group meeting will talk if they already have something written on paper in front of them. And there are many other good reasons for doing homework.

One warning: If you lead an intentionally open group—that is, new people are always welcome to join you—homework is a definite no-no. How would you feel if you showed up at a meeting for the first time, and everyone but you had answers to the leader’s questions already written out? Intimidated? Certainly, and that group would probably never see your face again.

(Most small groups should be open groups if we are to be a disciple-making church. But there may be room for a few groups that are intentionally closed — or at least closed for a season. Accountability, discipleship, and recovery groups are examples of groups that should, perhaps, be closed.)

In a closed group, then—one that keeps the ...

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