How to Lead a Dynamic Discussion

How to Lead a Dynamic Discussion

Small groups are designed to press God’s Word into one another. We want to help each other apply God’s Word as we seek to grow spiritually. We don’t base our life on man’s wisdom or the experience of others, though sometimes this can be helpful. We want to know what God has to say. When we study God’s Word as a group, we can challenge, deepen and strengthen each other’s faith.


How do I prepare as a leader?

As a Small Group Leader, you are not a teacher or preacher— you’re a facilitator. As a leader, it’s tempting to share insights and all the things you have learned during the week from your own study. But this isn’t the goal. Instead, your job is to ask questions to facilitate a meaningful conversation and draw out discussion amongst your group.

When facilitating your group, be ready to rephrase a question or redirect your question to members who are reserved and need to be drawn out. Affirm what members say and be quick to redirect the conversation when it becomes hijacked, drifts off topic or if it spirals into criticism.
To engage your small group in a dynamic discussion, it’s best to limit the number of questions you ask. Ask short questions that are to the point. Allow the conversation to evolve on its own. Sometimes, people don’t see how God is working in their lives until they start talking about it. This is why facilitating discussion and drawing people out is so important.

What questions should I ask?

Asking good questions is a skill you can develop. Good questions start with the heart and help people think for themselves. They are thought-provoking, encourage group members to solve problems and get people excited about what they’re learning. Good questions encourage action, increase ownership and make difficult topics safe to discuss. Through questions, you can evoke curiosity and help your small group think differently.
Asking good questions will create an environment that is open to learning and growth. This can be one of the most powerful ways you can influence your group members.
Simple. The best questions are short and to the point. Don’t confuse people—ask one question at a time.
Clear. The best questions are asked in a way that is easy to understand. You shouldn’t need to explain your question or set up your question with additional background information.
Urgent. The best questions promote action and move to application. Why does this matter? So what?


Clarify the question

Sometimes groups struggle with silence if there is a confusing question. If this is the case, clarify your question. But, most often, silence is an indicator that people are thinking. If you have a particular question you want to discuss, share the question ahead of time so your group has time to process. When you have silence, don’t answer your question. Give your group time, and if that doesn’t help, rephrase it if necessary.

Involve everyone

The most outspoken person doesn’t always share the most helpful things. Likewise, the person who is quiet may have the best thing to share. Don’t expect everyone to contribute equally to the conversation but do expect each person to contribute. Although the insights of a new believer and a mature believer might vary, both are important. New believers come to small group with a fresh perspective. Mature believers provide deeper insights and make helpful connections that enable new believers to grasp how a specific passage relates to the whole counsel of Scripture.

Elevate God’s Word

God’s Word is sufficient. It tells us what is right (doctrine), what’s not right (reproof), how to get right (correction) and how to stay right (training). Although life experiences and advice can be helpful, it’s vital to connect conversations back to Scripture and not rely on man’s wisdom. God’s Word has the power to transform lives. This is where we see that God’s promises are real and His wisdom is beyond this world.

Drive Home application

While it’s easy to focus your time on trying to understand the meaning of a passage or grasping the author’s intent, each small group should work toward creating an environment that results in application. This means some questions need to be cut short so you have time to discuss how these truths impact your life. God’s Word is meant to be obeyed, not just listened to or read, studied or discussed. We need to take time to reflect on what God’s Word says and ask, “What does this look like in my life?” This is the starting point for life change and becoming doers of the Word, not hearers only.