Facilitating Lively Discussions

Learn from these often-overlooked keys to making the most of your small-group lesson.

As a small-group leader, how you respond to group members' inquiries is important to the life of any discussion. What you say and do when they pose a question either enhances or stifles further group interaction. But responding to their questions is just one of a number of discussion-leading skills you'll need to cultivate. Other competencies have to do with your reaction to their answers to questions.

This article examines a taken-for-granted aspect of discussion-leading. Below, you'll find several important things to keep in mind when responding to group members' participation.

Exhibit enthusiasm

When you lead quality Bible discussions, people will find fresh, "I've never thought of that before" insights. In response to a study question, participants may notice a truth for the very first time, especially if they're recent converts. Then they verbalize their discovery for others to hear. As a leader, this is the time to reward their participation with positive reinforcement. Express excitement over their discoveries as if each one is new to you.

What you say right after someone contributes is crucial. If her point is elementary to you or something you've known for years, your instinct may be to gloss over it with polite acknowledgement. But your verbal reaction should express fascination with the participant's discovery! I'm not advocating mushy, superficial remarks or positive reinforcement of an incorrect response. But I am encouraging you to speak a few sentences that dignify legitimate answers. Give verbal applause that recognizes a person's textual investigation. Public congratulations will encourage people to keep delving into Scripture and participating in ...

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