Small group discussion is so important, and really is the place where the Word can be applied as much as any other time. Generating discussion is tough for leaders, but is extremely important to having an effective small group discussion. I want to give you some ideas to help facilitate positive discussion in your small group:
- Be patient- On your first night, the small group discussion is not going to be extremely deep if it is your first time with this small group. It takes time, and be patient on it. Do not be discouraged if you leave feeling like the discussion was not centered around the Gospel on your first night. It takes time so be patient.
- Set goals throughout the year- Set a goal for a month from now to be deeper in your discussion with your students than you are right now. Set a goal to have a student who maybe has not opened up to get them to open up a bit by the next month.
- Build strong relationships- If you want discussion to take place, a relationship has to be in place as well. If you do not have a regular consistent relationship, do not expect for them to open up to you. I always picture a truck filled with Biblical truth trying to reach the heart of a student, and the truck must go over a bridge to get to the heart of that student. That bridge is the bridge of relationships. If a relationship is not built, the truck will never make it to the heart. Just think how much more effective we could be in sharing the Word if we had better relationships with our students.
- Ask good questions- We do our small group session after my lesson so I challenge my leaders to be thinking of questions to ask during the lesson, or even before youth group that week. Ask good pointed questions for the students to answer. Not yes or no answered questions. Go deeper than those type of questions. Be intentional about your questions.
- Listen to their answers- Listen to each kid as they give answers! Take the time to listen, and facilitate discussion based on the answers. Each student will open up more and more if they know that you value what they are saying.