1. Prepare and pray.
Before going into the discussion with your Community Group, ask yourself some questions:
- What is your purpose and hope for the group discussion?
- What assumptions are you making about the topic?
- How is your attitude toward the upcoming discussion?
- Is there anything about the topic that creates fear or apprehension?
- Pray that Christ reveals to you HIS perspective and gives you the right words to use so that you can be a peacekeeper in the discussion.
Remember that everyone comes into the discussion with a back-story, thoughts, and ideas that form their point of view. It is important that you acknowledge this so no one feels isolated or discouraged to share.
2. Establish ground rules.
Review the ground rules for setting a safe environment for people to share.
- Listen respectfully, without interrupting.
- Listen actively and with an ear to understand other views. Don’t be thinking about what you are going to say while someone else is talking.
- Respectfully disagree with ideas, not individuals.
- Commit to learning, not debating.
- No fixing or giving advice unless the person asks for it.
- Be confidential and keep anything that is being shared within the group.
3. Be an active facilitator.
It is important to be an active facilitator rather than a passive observer. Be careful to maintain some control but not over-control. Your role may include rewording a question, correcting misinformation, asking for clarification and reviewing the main topic.
- Communicate the topic being discussed.
- Ask open-ended questions that encourage discussion.
- Allow and expect silence giving room for people to think.
- Encourage people to elaborate on their ideas.
- Involve everyone in the discussion.
- Be prepared to re-direct the discussion if it moves off topic.
- Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know.”
- Use scripture. Point to it, refer to it, look things up.
4. Insights, feedback and prayer.
It is important to conclude the discussion with a summary of the main points that were shared, some reflective questions and to close in prayer.
- What are 2 – 3 insights you learned today?
- What important questions remain unanswered for you?
- What did you learn specifically from what someone else shared that you would not have thought on your own?