Tips on Facilitating Effective Discussion During Small Groups

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
[Question]: How do you train your leaders to have effective discussions during small group time?

Published by Josh Evans

Josh is the connections pastor of the Oakleaf campus of Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville, FL. Before that, Josh had been a mentor and pastor to students for 10 years. Josh is passionate about empowering church leaders to make a difference. Josh and his wife Abby have two children. You can connect further with Josh on this blog or send him a direct email at

6 thoughts on “Tips on Facilitating Effective Discussion During Small Groups

  1. Josh,

    You nailed it with “ask good questions.” Sometimes the hardest thing to do when leading a small group is asking the right questions to get a conversation going. If we can discover and nail the right questions, we are on the way to a good small group time. Thanks for sharing!


Leave a Reply to Charlie Lyons Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: