david santistevan


Leading Productive Discussions

I recently sent these pointers to my small group leaders as a resource for their small groups. It is found in the ‘Don’t Waste Your Life’ study guide. I know this is a long post for me, but it is really helpful stuff.

  • Don’t be uncomfortable with silence initially. Once the first participant shares his or her response, others will be likely to join in. But if you cut the silence short by prompting them they are more likely to wait for you to prompt them every time.
  • Affirm every answer, if possible, and draw out the participants by asking for clarification. Your aim is to make them feel comfortable sharing their ideas and learning; so be extremely hesitant to shut down a participant’s contribution or to trump it with your own. This does not mean, however, that you shouldn’t correct false ideas – but do it in a spirit of gentleness and love.
  • Don’t allow a single participant, or group of participants, to dominate the discussion. Involve everyone, if possible, and intentionally invite participation from those who are more reserved or hesitant.
  • Labor to show the significance of their study. Emphasize the things that the participants could not have learned without doing the homework.
  • Avoid talking too much. The group leader should not monopolize the discussion but rather guide and shape it. If the group leader does the majority of the talking, the participants will be less likely to interact and engage, and therefore they will not learn as much. Avoid constantly adding the “definitive last word.”
  • The group leader should feel the freedom to linger on a topic or question if the group demonstrates interest. The group leader should also pursue digressions that are helpful and relevant.
  • The group leader’s passion, or lack of it, is infectious. Therefore, if you demonstrate little enthusiasm for the material, it is almost inevitable that your participants will likewise be bored. But i you have a genuine excitement for what you are studying, and if you truly think Bible study is worthwhile, your group will be impacted positively. Therefore, it is our recommendation that before you come to the group you spend enough time working through the homework and praying so you can overflow with genuine enthusiasm for the Bible and for God in your group. This point cannot be stressed enough. Delight yourself in God and in his Word!

September 12, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Great, Excellent,Well Said. If you could come be obe of my small group leaders that would be good.

    Comment by ben | September 15, 2008 | Reply

  2. Bro, I didn’t write these pointers. I got it from ‘DWYL’

    Comment by santahara | September 16, 2008 | Reply

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