I’ve had two different experiences recently in facilitating conversations in our church. Small Group ConversationOne went great, the other not so well. One of the things I have to remember is that it is not so much about the “lesson” as it is about the “conversation.”

When the Lesson Reigned Supreme

I had an agenda. I had discovered a truth and I wanted the members to find it as well so, I built a lesson around that one truth. As a matter of fact, I didn’t really care if they found any other truth at all as long as they found mine.

The questions I asked were all designed to reach one conclusion – mine. I never let the members hear from the Spirit and talk with each other about what He was telling them through the scripture. Taking center stage I became a bore. I kept talking over the Spirit; drowning out his voice with mine. It would have been better if I had found a way to share the insight the Father had given me as part of a larger conversation.

I noticed two telltale signs of my flawed facilitation.

  1. Frustration grew when the members couldn’t give me the “right” answer.
  2. All responses were directed at me (the leader) and there was no interaction among the group.

The Refreshing Wind of Conversation

The other conversation was so different. My questions were open ended and I was not looking for specific answers. As I asked questions I tried to get out of the way and let the Spirit speak.

There was a refreshing wind blowing in the room as members shared from their hearts. Some wanted to sing. Some told stories. Some pointed to additional scripture passages.

I saw three positive differences. . .

  1. I did not have to say much because I was not in the spotlight.
  2. Group members were talking with each rather than to me only.
  3. The Spirit’s agenda is so much better than mine.

I much prefer the pattern of facilitating in the second meeting rather than the first. I think the group does too.

Grace and Peace,

Join this conversation: Do you have any questions or insights about facilitating a conversation in a small group?

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Filed under: Simple/Organic Church Practices

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