Disciples who Make Disciples
Small Group Process
As we begin, pray, asking the Lord's presence and guidance. Then we facilitate with friendly, simple questions:
1. RECONNECT (Look back)
- What are you thankful for (or rejoicing in) today?
- What challenge are you facing this week?
- Can someone summarize our passage from last time? How did God speak to you personally through it?
- What did you learn as you sought to live out your "I will ..." statement last week?
- With whom did you share how the Lord has been speaking to you? How did the person respond?
3. READ (Look up to the Lord)
- Invite one or two people to read the new story in different translations from scripture.
- Can someone retell the story, or main points in this passage, in your own words?
- Is there anything someone else would like to add?
- What does this passage tell us about God, or Jesus? (What is God like?)
- What does this passage tell us about people? (What do we learn about ourselves?)
- What is God drawing you to pay attention to? (What do you sense God wanting to address or change in you?)
6. REACT (Look forward to fruitfulness)
- How can you put your learning into action? (If you are using a notebook, take a few moments to write your responses.)
- "I will ..."
- "We will..." It may be the Lord invite the group to respond to a need within your group or your community. If so, write a "We will..." statement. When completed, ask the Lord for the way your group can bond more deeply and serve together again.)
- Who do you know who may well benefit from what the Lord is teaching you?
- How will you share what the Lord is speaking into your life?
As we conclude, pray for one another in the areas you've shared... A good way to pray is to ask each person to pray for one other person in the circle, for strength for their challenge, for blessing on their "I will..." statement, for the Lord's grace on their lives... (download above in PDF)
Suggestions for Small Group Facilitators
1. Refreshments: If refreshments are served, do so before or after the Discovery Bible Study so concentration is not broken.
2. Pace yourself: Keep the group process moving so all questions are engaged before time runs out.
Welcome periodic moments of silence while people listen to the Lord or while writing in their notebooks. Ask questions of the group as a whole, allowing the Spirit time to prompt someone to respond, or occasionally go around the circle giving freedom to anyone who wishes to "pass" - but avoid putting anyone on the spot. Encourage economy of words, to share briefly and often.
3. Let the Holy Spirit teach: If one member of the group speaks too much, say, "Thanks for sharing. Let's hear also what quieter members of the group have to share." If a member of the group wanders to other topics, you may need to bring the group back to the text by asking, "Where do you see that in this passage?
Resist the temptation to respond to your own questions, or do so only minimally, normally after the others have spoken. ONLY ask questions (do not research in advance and teach what you've learned). This is so the group remains "Word-centered" (the Holy Spirit speaks through the Word), not teacher-centered (this requires trust that the Lord will lead the person facilitating the question process).
4. Prayer for personal transformation: Make sure to leave ample time for prayer after sharing "I will..." statements.
To enable everyone to pray and be prayed for, generally pray in 2's so prayer remains personal. Alternatively, ask each person in the group to pray for one other person. Suggest focus on seeking God's transformation through "I will..." statements and empowerment for personal challenges shared earlier. Generally good to keep prayers on the shorter side but to pray repeatedly.
5. Small is better (counter-intuitive): Keep the group small to enable everyone to share (5 or 6 people is best).
If the group goes beyond seven people, form two groups. In preparation for this, after you've led 2 or 3 times, share this page and invite others in the group to facilitate two times so they can grow in skill and confidence in preparation for leading their own group.
6. Three is better: When another group is formed, keep in touch with the group leader to encourage him or her and help as she or he prepares to birth new groups.
Aim to birth three or more groups. As groups increase, form a "facilitators' community" composed of a lead facilitator from each group. This group meets less often, perhaps monthly, to learn together to solve problems and to pray together for greater fruitfulness for the Kingdom.
If you have comments or questions please send a note.