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The Power of Encouragement: How to Unlock Potential in Your Small Group Bible Study

3. Show them what they could do (even) better

“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had.” (Rom 15:5)

People who are cut down will shut down. If you can learn how to give feedback in a Christlike way that is reflective of your cultural communication norms, everyone in the process will grow together.

In Western contexts, the ‘feedback sandwich’ technique – or inserting a challenge between two positives – can be a helpful way to identify room for improvement without discouraging someone. 

For example, if you want to help a discussion leader become better at integrating shy group members, you might comment:

“Your insightful question at the start tonight really got the group chatting. I noticed Jerry and Jessica hold back though; I wonder, how we could draw them out next time? It was great to see that everyone felt comfortable to pray together by the end.”

Where you are in the world will impact where your emphasis lies in giving feedback. For instance, in Asian cultures, it might be more appropriate to focus on how to encourage participation without making people feel ‘put on the spot,’ rather than the goal being simply to ‘get people talking.’

Wherever you are in the world, be as Christlike, and as culturally aware as you can!

4. Remind them why they should keep going

“… give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Cor 15:58)

There will be times when every Group Guide feels like giving up. In these moments, encouragement becomes all the more vital. Assure those serving with you or around you that you are thankful for who they are and what they bring. Share what evidence you see of God’s grace in their life. Remind them of the eternal difference their efforts are making. Bring biblical exhortations about perseverance. Offer to pray for them and reassure them that the Holy Spirit is present to give them all the wisdom. strength and endurance they need. Encourage them every chance you have!

Call out what you see in them.

Tell them what did they do well.

Show them what they could do (even) better.

Remind them why they should keep going.

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