As a small group point person, you understand the complexities of building strong community and how intricate a process that is. However, you also want to put simple, easy-to-implement tools in the hands of your small group leaders.
Some groups benefit from a nudge in the right direction. One change or addition can open a whole new level of dialogue.
Here are three strategies a small group leader could include tomorrow in a meeting that open members up.
Journal first: A great way to jump start a deep dialogue is to get people to process on their own before opening a discussion. A small group leader could read a passage of Scripture and create a space for everyone to write their own reactions. Then, when it is time to share, everyone has something to say. Each person has at least one fully formed thought they can offer up to the group. Usually each thought opens up a conversation and allows the passage to be seen through many different lenses.
Buddy up: In any given day we find ourselves in many types of conversations. A meeting with a supervisor, a family meal, a gathering of friends. We are used to processing our thoughts and feelings in different sized groups. Mix things up by splitting men and women into different conversations. Or count off by numbers and pair people up to have a one on one interaction. Afterwards, give the larger group a space to digest all the different interactions. Your leaders may be shocked by the different ways God moved people.
Space to pray: A great way for people to discuss their relationship with God is to create space for spiritual practices to happen in the group itself. A leader can tell her group, “We all lead busy lives, and I’m sure none of us would agree that we pray as much as we want. We’re going to help by creating a space for us all to encounter God right here and now.” Play a worship song and invite people to interact with God however they feel most comfortable. Silent prayer, journaling, reading Scripture, or meditating on a verse are all ways people can connect. Then, open up a discussion on what people experienced. Instead of remembering how they connected with God throughout the week, this gives group members a chance to talk about connecting with God in the present.