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February 25, 2013


Leading a Vibrant Discussion

by Matt Ulrich

DiscussionHave you ever had a life-changing topic that has been burning inside of you and as a leader you are about to explode with excitement to share?!?  In your head you envision life transformation happening before your eyes as people dialogue and unpack amazing truth and have multiple “ah-ha!” moments and leave thanking you for this amazing evening… but when you throw out that initial question to the room of 8-25 people in your microchurch, the only thing you hear is crickets.  Or it ends up being derailed and turned into a dialogue between the two people in the room with the strongest opinions that took the topic way off track.

Let’s never have another night like that… ever.

Here are a few ways to avoid a disastrous discussion and ensure healthy, encouraging, and sharpening conversation takes place in a group setting:

1. Ask good questions.  Good discussion start with well thought out questions that are open-ended questions and require more than a yes or no answer.  As the leader, make sure you actually put thought to and ask multi-layered questions before getting to microchurch that night.

2. Don’t answer your own question.  Shut your mouth and let the group chime in.  Wait until the end to give your two cents if the group can’t come to a Biblical consensus.  Let God’s Word and the Holy Spirit be the ultimate teacher.  Force people to interact with the Word by asking follow-up questions like “Where else do you see that in Scripture?”

3. Smaller groups = Maximum interaction.  A great way to get everyone talking is to break your microchurch into smaller groups of 3-4.  Ask your most important question and then say, “Let’s break out into groups of 3-4 and answer this question.  You have five minutes!”  After five minutes is up, have everyone come back and give a one minute summary of what was said and the Scripture they used to back up what they found.  This way, everyone is interacting with the most important questions you want people to wrestle with.  (This is a great way to engage introverts!)

4. Shut down the Know-It-All gracefully. If one or two people are dominating the discussion, gently tell them to stop talking… literally.  Say something like, “Thanks for your insight.  Now let’s hear from the rest of you.  If you already responded, let some other people have a chance to jump in!”  Be the guardian of the discussion and give other people a chance to speak.

We’d love to hear some others ways you ensure your discussion is healthy and deep.  Share some thoughts via the comment section!

1 Comment Post a comment
  1. Jon Lash
    Feb 25 2013

    I always like to ask the question: “What is God wanting us to DO as a result of reading/studying this passage.” Helps people cross from the realm of theoretical Bible trivia to real-life faith in action.


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