Many times as Growth group leaders we tend to focus more on making sure we’ve memorized the teaching and/or hit a few good points, rather than, actually getting to know the people that attend. In some cases, a group of people are all dealing with different sins. In others, everybody is struggling with the same ones. Its important to understand the people so that you can effectively know where to steer the Gospel for their specific circumstances. The goal is “growth” in these disciples. So let’s get started!
Here are a few ways to learn the culture of your groups:
1. Before you start teaching, allow everybody to talk about their week prior to the study.
It allows people to reveal what they do with their time, which also reveals their priorities. If you know their priorities, then you will be able to teach them how to make Jesus known in what they love to do most.
2. Build friendships with the people that attend your group .
I cannot stress how important it is to build friendships. You want an atmosphere of trust, love and peace to strive in all your bible studies. Not grudges, hate, and discomfort. Gaining trust through relationships builds vulnerability. We want authentic, genuine, fellowship. People naturally feel uncomfortable when exposing their lives. Confessing sin accompanied by prayer brings healing to everybody (James5:16). This makes open doors for Jesus to be our ultimate healer.
3. Ask open-ended questions.
You will always have those couple of shy people along with the people that don’t talk much. A great way of getting people to speak from their hearts while avoiding one word answers is by asking questions that force them to give a longer response. In other words, instead of asking “Billy, do you think what Jesus said was right?” I might ask, “Why do you think Jesus said that statement the way he did?” or, “How would you have said that statement if you were Jesus?”
4. Preach Jesus.
When speaking of who Jesus is, people will be forced to compare their imperfections to perfections of Christ. When preaching Jesus, sin automatically gets projected to the forefront of every bodies mind, and eventually the conversation. It opens the floor for people to start discussing their struggles with one another.
Once you learn how people are different and their struggles might be as well, you then can specifically aim the Gospel, individually, towards people so that they might see how Jesus over came and how he IS their strength to overcome. Growth in discipleship, then take place.
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