by Paul Sohn
Steve Gladen, pastor of small groups at Saddleback Church for more than a decade, gives brilliant advice to take your small group to the next level. What makes a group system thrive? Definitely, strong leadership, welcoming groups, small group guidelines. Saddleback’s success from small groups comes from it’s focus on health. He balances the biblical purposes of fellowship, discipleship, ministry, worship and evangelism.
1. Don’t Do All The Talking
The best leaders facilitate conversations rather than dispensing information. The best leaders strive to facilitate the conversation and keep it moving from member to member rather than talking to the members.
2. Be Comfortable With Silence
Embrace the 15 seconds of silence which seem to be like an eternity. Realize that through silence, the Holy Spirit is working on people. Learn to be comfortable with the ambiguity
3. Be A Good Listener
So simple yet so hard to do. Don’t just listen – actively listen. James 1:19 tells us to be slow to speak and quick to listen. The best leaders listen with their eyes and ears
4. Don’t Answer Your Own Questions
The whole purpose of asking the question is to create an environment where group members feel safe to share. It’s not about getting the right answer. When people are silent with some of these questions, embrace the silence. If no one really speaks you could say something like, “Paul, you look like you were going to say something…”
5. Ask Open-Ended Questions
Open-ended questions help group members to tell more than a simple yes or no. Questions like, “What did you like about the verse or chapter of the book?” will bring up more than yes/no questions. Use what or how questions to get people to open up