When Truth Intercepts Life

Good questions can spur intimacy within a group.

A most rewarding experience for any Christian leader happens when a life-changing experience takes place for at least one member of the group. That kind of result requires discussion on an intimate level, which is difficult to achieve.

In hopes of motivating group members to bare their souls, one leader asked, "What one temptation do you wrestle with most often?" Instead of leaving the question open for volunteers to answer, the leader called on a particular individual and then asked each person to respond in turn. One person said, "Why tell it?" Another person sluffed off the question with a joke. No one made a heartfelt confession.

It's hard to get people to open up if they feel uncomfortable. At least the initial question needs to be more general. "What temptations are most prevalent in today's society?" To follow up, the leader might ask, "How does temptation vary for different age groups?" or "What effect does vocation have on temptation?" While someone may answer on a personal level, no one is put on the spot.

When appropriate, tie the discussion into current news. For instance, top executives who have mismanaged money can serve as examples of yielding to the temptation to be greedy or dishonest. Maybe a doctor or nurse in your community has taken advantage of the accessibility to prescription drugs. Talk about ways to cope with temptation under various circumstances.

To encourage sharing on a deeper level, you might describe one of your own struggles. Tell how you have been dealing with the issue and then ask, "Has anyone else had to wrestle with a similar problem?"

From an initial general discussion, you can gradually increase the level of intimacy. By the time you make yourself vulnerable by sharing personal data, others ...

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