Last week’s blog post (here) offered suggestions for being a better small group member. This week’s entry is for those who lead small groups — Sunday School class teachers, discipleship class leaders, and other Bible study facilitators.
How can you be a better small group leader? Here are some tips:
Study well. Your work as a small group leader has eternal significance. You’ve been entrusted with teaching the very words of God. Prepare!
Use your Bible. Continually remind yourself: The Bible is better. In fact, the Bible is the best thing you’ve got. It’s better than your own opinions or even your trusted commentaries (as sound as they might be). The Bible is better. So, let God’s Word be the central material you use. Ground your study in it, and return to the text again and again.
Ask good questions. The best small group Bible studies are not one-sided lectures; instead, they’re interactive. So ask questions, and good ones. Avoid yes/no questions, questions that invite your class members to overshare inappropriately, and questions that are confusing. Ask questions that provoke healthy discussion based on God’s Word.
Don’t be afraid of silence. When no one seems immediately eager to respond, don’t panic. Resist the urge to answer your own questions. Give them time. Let the silence linger, even into awkwardness. And then, when someone does answer, consider saying, “Does anyone else have something to say?” and wait again.
Don’t rush to application. Yes, the Word of God has instructions we should apply to our lives. But your small group doesn’t primarily need lessons on how to improve their life. They need to know and love the God of the Bible, who is Life.
Teach the Gospel – every time. The Gospel – the Good News that Jesus, the Son of God, died in the place of sinners and rose to life, defeating death forever – should be the resounding theme of every small group you lead. Champion this Good News. If you miss the Gospel, you miss the point.
Invest in the members of your class. Know your class members well. Ask them about their lives. Follow up with them throughout the week. Love them.