If I were to ask you what you want to see happen in your small group, what would it be? Do we need more information or more transformation? In ministry, we are always trying to encourage discipleship within the environment of small groups. A healthy group acts upon God’s Word while building close and Christ-centered relationships. A healthy small group is growing relationships with each other and healthy Bible discussion. How do we use the power of the question to build healthy Bible discussion?
Three questions to ask yourself as you ask questions in small groups:
1. What is the main thought of the biblical discussion? Preparing a goal for each lesson into one sentence will help drive the main thought in each person’s heart. If a leader does not know where they are going, it can easily become distracted and run off course. Keeping the nights focused on life application will keep it fresh and engaging. As a leader, the goal should not be simply answering the questions. If a leader knows where they are going they will create tension that helps people seek God for the answers in life. The goal of discipleship is that people grow in their relationship with Christ. The most important aspect of growing in Christ is to understand and apply His word.
2. Am I willing to embrace the awkward art of asking questions? What happens when we only share information? It is called info dumping! People disconnect and look to one or two people who are the experts. If a leader quickly gives answers the rest of the group will become disconnected from the discussion. We have all seen it, especially in student ministry. "Okay, what does Jesus mean when He says, blessed are the poor in spirit?" The air in the room is quickly depleted while most look at their shoe laces. The leader feels the awkward silence and quickly answers the question. What happens is the students realize that each time a question is asked, if they are patient, they will not have to engage in the discussion. Many times I will simply say, "I enjoy the awkwardness, let's keep thinking about this question" and repeat the question in a fresh way. Embrace the awkward moments and do not let them off the hook or you will create a lecture based small group with people disconnected from God's Word.
3. Are my questions leading to more questions? Healthy small groups discuss the Bible rather than listen to one person give a lecture. I'm guilty of being the main one talking when I lead a small group. Discussion gives people the chance to ask questions and voice their struggles, opinions and thoughts. People want to know what God’s words means and how to apply it to their own lives. Questions should always lead people back to scripture. If a question is based upon an agenda, it is not a Bible study, but an opinion study. Opinions are important, but God's Word is the final source of truth. It is important to set aside one’s ideas, personal experience and opinions when studying and applying God’s Word.
What are your thoughts? What can you add to the list? How important is asking questions and discussing in a small group?