SGL: Coaching Small Group Leaders (2)
I love it when men bring together their leadership and serving others. As I watched a guy lead, I thought, “He’s got it.” “He understands what he needs to do. He’s there, not for himself, but for others.”
Prior to arriving at the home group meeting, I told him I’d open the home group and then I asked him to facilitate the “Message Based Discussion Questions.” It was like clock-work. The initial orientation went just a little long, but our group is beginning to enjoy each other and I normally like to begin the “Digging Deeper” questions before I passed the leadership to him.
During the small group, I wrote down several key points of what he did well. Maybe it is because he leads a group of young boys in our Wednesday evening ministry. Maybe it is because he has been in several different kinds of small groups. But whatever the past, he’s doing it now. Here’s the summary.
First, he affirmed people’s responses, even in their reading. Just a light ‘thanks,’ or thank you, or even verbal “uh huh.” The affirmation keeps the people encouraged and willing to respond with greater thoughts.
Secondly, he was positive and light-hearted. He wasn’t blasé or like Eeyore. He was positive and encouraging to what people said. It’s difficult to “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep,” but the leader needs to be up and responsive to the participants 98% of the time, because it’s not about him, it’s about raising the people up. Should a leader or facilitator let others know if he has a struggle? Sure. But not so much that he can’t lead others.
Thirdly, he made good tie-ins back to the main message content from the questions. That keeps the consistency and unity from the message and creates a building aspect in the “Digging Deeper” portion of the Message Based Discussion Questions.
Fourthly, he spoke well with his eye contact with each person talking. He looked at the person talking and gave good non-verbal and tone of voice affirmation that he was tracking with each person.
Fifthly, he asked if there was anything else after a few comments were made. He didn’t feel like he needed to do all the talking. He didn’t respond to each comment, but he was definitely leading and carrying the conversation of learning on his shoulders. Before he went to the next question, he asked, “Any other comments?” Or, “Anything else?”
Sixthly, when there was a disagreement about an answer, he handled it extremely well by looking at how both answers could be considered and assigned us to re-look at the answer for the next week. He didn’t waffle on the answer and didn’t come across as a know-it-all. He recognized that the way the question was stated and the information in the text was presented, that both answers had merit, and what really mattered was the heart of the question. He handled it very maturely.
Seventhly, he did a great job of summarizing the questions. He summarized the “Digging Deeper” questions and the “Application” questions so that people felt like there was a good ending to the discussion. And what was the response? As one person said, “That was a good discussion.”
I wish I could take credit for how well the group went. Instead I thank God for how He continues to work in each of our lives to sharpen us to the truth and to present that truth in a winsome, biblical way. Consider how some of these highlights might be incorporated into your small group leadership. I know that night people were greatly challenged by the application questions about their personal responsibility with the message.