January 29, 2013
Why your leadership matters
Do you know how important your role is, small-group leader? Without you, your group will not run as smoothly, and group members won't get as much out of discussions. It's easy to believe that if you have a mature group your presence doesn't matter. But that's simply not true.
Consider how easily your group members go off on tangents during your discussion. Do you gently bring them back? Or observe what happens when someone shares something that makes them vulnerable. How do others react? Do they attempt to lighten the mood through humor? Just sit silently waiting for you to make the next move?
Sure, many meetings—the "normal" meetings—may make you feel like you're not all that necessary. Group members share great insights, are open in their prayer requests, and enjoy themselves. But what happens when there's an awkward moment? Or when there's a disagreement? Or when two group members are on opposite ends theologically?
Leaders who are able to facilitate group discussion well will recognize these moments and take steps to validate group members and help move the discussion along appropriately—not too fast to neglect and gloss over what's happening, but not too slow to dwell on the situation for too long.
Facilitating discussion is really an art, something you can continue to improve on as you gain more leading experience. But if you want to grow in your facilitation skills, you'll need to be intentional. Read about how to facilitate, especially in unique situations. Start with The Basics of Facilitating and Tips for Facilitating a Group Discussion. Then learn how to deal with specific group dynamics issues in our digizine Troubleshooting, including four of the most common small-group issues.
Another great idea is to reflect on your facilitation skills. After each meeting spend five minutes reflecting on the discussion, answering the questions below. If you co-lead, work through these questions together.
What went well? Did the group go off on any tangents? Was I able to bring the group back? If so, how?
Did the mood change at any time? For what reason?
How did the group members handle the change? How did I handle it?
Did I encourage multiple members to share their thoughts, or did one or two dominate the meeting?
Did we start and end on time? Why or why not?
How deeply did group members share? Or did they stay at surface level?
What can I do differently next time to facilitate better?
How have you grown in your facilitating skills? What has helped the most?
posted by Amy Jackson on January 29, 2013 9:15 AM