How to lead a Bible discussion

 

Serve as a facilitator, not a lecturer.  Your goal is to encourage personal interaction and self-discovery.  Avoid being overly directive or too passive.  Don't be the expert.

 

Focus on what scripture has to say, not on you as the leader.  Point members to scripture and allow the Holy Spirit to make application according to each member's needs.

 

Maintain an atmosphere of love and acceptance, which will lead to open discussion.  Never "put down" a person's comments or contribution.

 

Ask open-ended questions, which have several possible answers and can't be answered by a simple "yes" or "no."

 

Encourage involvement by calling on nonparticipants by name.  This also helps control the overly talkative.

 

Stimulate discussion with active feedback responses such as:

            -Acknowledging responses whenever you can.

            -Asking follow-up questions to clarify a general or vague response.

 

Deal with wrong responses and comments by asking, "What do others think?" or "Does everyone agree?" Never tell a person he or she is wrong.  This kills an open discussion atmosphere.

 

Encourage application by asking, "What can/should we do differently as a result of this discussion?"

 

Keep the discussion on track by acknowledging the problem or new issue raised but suggesting that you table the issue until you finish your present discussion.  Your attitude toware the tangent should always be positive.

 

Summarize the main ideas that are presented to help the group remain focused.

 

Be punctual.  Start on time and end on time.  Fellowship time can last as long as members are willing to stay, but the Bible study should be more structured.

 

Don't assume/expect they know a lot of scripture.  Give good introductions and set texts in their context.  Never open a discussion with "we all know the story of Hezekiah and Sennacherib..."