6. Ask, "What did you think?" Mark Riggins, Community Life Pastor at Bible Fellowship Church in Ventura, California, suggests asking "So what do you think?" right after viewing the video. This opens the floor for discussion, engages everyone, and gives you a better idea of where to head next.
7. Focus on application, not presentation. When the movie critics in your group begin reviewing the film as if it were the latest box-office hit, guide the group back to the message of the study. Ask a question like, "How do you see this playing out in your life?" or say, "Let's move beyond the scope of the video itself and talk about how we can live out this teaching. Here's what I learned … "
8. Stay balanced. Some video studies are content-oriented and will help participants think about a particular topic, while others will draw group members into feeling emotions as they listen to or observe dramatic stories. Effective groups engage the mind and the heart as well as the hands and feet, so you'll need to balance this dynamic. If the video presentation is very content-oriented, ask feeling questions as simple as, "How did you feel about what he said?" On the other hand, if the video tells a story laced with emotion, you might ask some questions to engage people's minds: "What was going through your mind as you witnessed Jesus crawling to the cross?" or "How do you generally respond when someone you love is hurt?"
9. Shepherd group members. A DVD-based study can provide good teaching, tell great stories, and even help you facilitate lively discussion, but it can't care for, love on, support, encourage, and invest in your group members. Yes, you can bring Francis Chan, Margaret Feinberg, Max Lucado, Rick Warren, Kyle Idleman, Beth Moore, Chip Ingram, Donald Miller, and other great teachers to your group, but not one of them can shepherd your group members. That's your job: shepherd the group of people God has placed under your care. Intentionally focus on building authentic community and a missional mindset. Leave time in your meeting to share what's going on in your lives, to pray for one another, or to plan your next step in serving your community. Remember to contact group members during the week to offer encouragement, support, and prayer.
To see all the Video Bible Studies offered on SmallGroups.com, click here.
—Michael C. Mack is a founder of and advisor for SmallGroups.com, author of 14 small-group books and discussion guides, and small-group ministry consultant; copyright 2013 by Christianity Today.