If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17
Investing in God’s people from life to life
These pages are designed to aid study or investigation for Christian discipleship through individual Bible study, Cell groups, Home groups, or meeting one to one. The questions could be used alone allowing each person to use their own Bible.
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Groups are a great place for growth. There is the opportunity to bounce ideas around among a trusted group. There is the opportunity to share how we are feeling in a safe environment. Groups however don’t just work by themselves. A skilful leader can make a huge difference. This skill is not something that people have, it must be developed and the only way to develop it is with experience!
A group has a life of its own. If you understand how groups work they are much easier to lead. Since a group has a life of its own, if you understand how they work you can develop strategies that will enable you to stay ahead of the group or redirect it if it goes off track. By doing this you can help the group reach its aims and thus serve the group members.
There are a number of key dynamics for groups to work. Here are some thoughts on practicalities. It is worth looking at the next page Environments for growth, which sets out a Biblical framework for these suggestions..
How can you lead a discussion? How do you handle difficult group members with tact? How do you guide a group through an issue to a conclusion? Helping group members relate with each other? How do you handle silence in a group? Anyone who has led a group for any length of time will be familiar with these age old questions.
Good discussions only happen by themselves when there is considerable maturity in the group. Developing a good group dynamic is a skill, and provides an opportunity to serve in many contexts. Here are some key factors that it is worth being aware of -
Questions are the key to a good discussion. Questions take the focus off oneself. Questions give the initiative to the group. Questions help people engage with the issue at hand. Questions help people to think. Good questions can help people move from intellect to action.
Taking a group through a set of material, helping them to engage with it and deepen their understanding involves a process, and each stage of this process requires a different type of question.
We will be looking at a variety of question types and how they are put together for a discussion.
Occasionally there is a need to write one’s own material. Any material that is used should set out to serve a number of different needs. For instance it is good if the material will help people to engage with God. It is good if the material considers the spiritual maturity and knowledge of the users. Finally it is good to have some experience with those using the material in order to know what their strengths and weaknesses are in preparing.
The heart of creating your own study is that you are serving the group who will use it. The temptation is to show off your amazing insights into the Bible. The following questions are aimed at helping you to engage with God and the users of the material such that you are helped to serve.
PRACTICAL GROUP MINISTRY