Leading a home group is a tremendous way to see the multiplication process. As home groups grow and new ones begin, leaders have a lot of things to juggle and apply themselves, while they are helping the people grow. Here are several helpful lessons recently observed while watching home group leaders.
First, let others talk. Most leaders are very good at this, however, those who like to talk often do more talking than they should. Sometimes they are so good at talking themselves it that they shut others down, those who should be talking. It is not an issue of being extroverted or introverted. The issue is: Will the leader see the importance of the people talking? You only know what people are thinking when they are talking. It is important for leaders to know what people are thinking, so leaders can help people grow through the spiritual stages of growth.
Second, affirm the answers. Positive affirmation is very important to people. People in our society are fearful of giving the wrong answer and they find it easier to just not say anything, rather than stick their necks out and give an answer they fear will be wrong or corrected. Find something to affirm about the answer. If it is wrong, ask the others what they think or if they have any comments. That allows the group to grow and sharpen each other. Ultimately, the leader is responsible for the truth, however, people are very important and home group is not a seminary classroom. It is a place to be vulnerable and be a fun place to learn and grow.
Thirdly, connect the questions back to the message. When you discuss a “digging deeper question,” it is designed to discover new information related to, but not from, the message. When the discussion is about done for a particular question and the leader has asked if there are any more comments, then the leader should tie the question back to the message. For example, in a recent home group, there was a question about Deuteronomy 6:1-9 and what it looked like to solidify the Word into a spiritual parent’s heart. There were a number of answers that could have been given from all nine verses from the Deuteronomy passage, but after the discussion a tie-back comment would be, “Just as it is important to be diligent to teach a child through the stages of his growth, like making use of every opportunity when lying down or getting up, think about how a spiritual parent should think about opportunities and be diligent to help a spiritual infant or child or even a spiritual young adult grow spiritually.”
Fourthly, stay with the passage. It is very difficult for new leaders to stay on topic. The new home group leader is growing himself and has an opportunity to connect the discussion with other things he is studying and learning. Watch that temptation to make a connection to other things you have studied, unless you transition well to the thought and unless you bring the people back to the main discussion. Bringing in too many connections to other passages or thoughts can become confusing to people and they lose the sense of flow in the discussion.
Fifthly, use turn-around questions. These are questions where you take a response given by one person and turn-it-around to the rest of the group. Sometimes you have follow-up questions to the person who responds, but in this case, turn the question around to the rest of the group to bring them into the discussion. For example, you can say, “That is a good thought. What do the rest of you think about that related to [some aspect or subject from the main message]? Turn-around questions gain greater responsiveness and ideas for discussion, which sharpens people in their thinking and causes great unity to form as they sense a real identity with the group.
These are five ideas that can help in home group leader discussions, especially in helping people grow spiritually. Home group is about multiplication. Godly multiplication will occur as people build their discussion on a biblical foundation in a relational environment. As leaders intentionally disciple others, God the Holy Spirit will cause multiplication.