9 Tips for Leading Small Groups

by | Mar 2, 2016

Leading Small Groups

I love small groups. Especially when they involve Bible study…

There’s something powerful about meeting together with God’s people around God’s Word.

Not only do we learn from each other, we get to grow together – and that’s one of the sweetest parts of being the family of God.

Growing Up Together

I’ve heard lots of wonderful sermons, but it’s been small groups (such as Sunday School, ladies Bible study and discipleship class) that have brought the most spiritual growth to my life.

Especially when the small group encouraged participation. Though the teaching element was important, it was the open sharing of hearts that became the catalyst for change. Here are a few ways we, as leaders, can cultivate that kind of environment…

9 Tips for Leading Small Groups

  • Ask God to give you a genuine love for each person.
  • Pray for them faithfully that they will make time for the study and that the Holy Spirit will enlighten their minds as they read and study the Word.
  • Guide the conversation but don’t monopolize it.
  • Don’t be threatened by silence. People often need time to formulate their response. If you jump in with the answers, quieter members will sit back and not interact.
  • Sometimes one member is more vocal than the others, to a point of hi-jacking the conversation. In those instances, be kind but don’t be afraid to take back the helm. Ways to do this include thanking the person for his or her input but then asking if anyone else has a thought or interjecting a short insight of your own. When asking the next question, suggest that someone who hasn’t had a chance to share speak up.
  • To draw out quieter members, you may want to make gentle eye contact to invite their involvement. After someone has answered a question, address the quiet person by name and ask what he or she thinks. Don’t push or demand, but provide an opportunity for everyone to be heard.
  • When an answer is given that doesn’t quite fit the question or the scriptural context, thank the participant and then ask if someone else has an answer.
  • Sometimes opinions or answers will be given that are unscriptural, and at other times conversations may devolve into gossip or gripe sessions. At moments like these, I silently pray for wisdom and then gently steer the conversation back on track. It isn’t always necessary to correct the issue at that moment, but look for opportunities to bring truth to these situations—even if it is the following week.
  • You can gently address a sidetracked topic in closing prayer or share a scripture. But above all, avoid arguing or making anyone look foolish. Present truth and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.

DOWNLOAD Free Printable:  { 9 Tips for Leading Small Groups }

(For more tips on leading Bible studies, check out the “Leader Guide” for each of my studies.)

The Blessing of Fellowship

It takes time and effort to build a group that feels safe and comfortable enough to share their lives with each other. But it is an investment worth making. For we are not only called to a devotion to God’s Word (1 Tim 4:13)…we are called to a devotion to one another (Rom 12:10).

My heart has been so blessed by the community God is building in our church here in our little town. It hasn’t happened overnight, but it is happening. And it makes my pastor’s wife heart nearly burst with joy.

This morning in ladies Bible study, we finished the last session of Lazarus Awakening: DVD Study. It’s been a little strange watching myself talk on a screen when it’s usually someone like Beth Moore doing our teaching! But God’s been so kind to meet me personally in the pages of the study, and I’ve been inspired by the insights women have shared each week.

My Ladies Bible Study group (I'm on the screen and behind the camera!)

My Ladies Bible Study group (I’m on the screen and behind the camera!)

Tomorrow night, I’ll meet with our 2:7 Discipleship Class – a group of eight people who have become so dear to me. We laugh together, we cry together, we study God’s Word together. And all of us are being changed.

2-7 Group

My 2:7 Class – Bunny, Tony, Russ, Victoria, Tracy, Nancy, & RaeAnn (missing our sweet Holly!)

In case you don’t think you need this kind of fellowship, I’d like to share with you one of my all-time favorite verses…

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25

I’d love to hear from you…how have small groups (or the Body of Christ in general) been instrumental in your walk with God?


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