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Confession and Repentance–8 Ways to Talk About It

Your members do well to know that confession and repentance can cause great gains in their group process. Here are eight tips to help them along that path:

1.       Talk in the orientation, if appropriate for your group, about the value of confession and repentance. Basically you ask them to agree with the truth (confession) about ourselves and to have a change of mind and direction about something (repentance.) Talks about confession and repentance are almost synonyms for a good group. In other words, we will come together, take a look at ourselves, see where we are missing the mark, and make some changes.

2.       Take the concepts out of religious language and make them friendly. “Let’s talk about where we are missing the mark, which is what sin really means, and want to do better. What have you seen that you want to talk about and change?”

3.       Talk about the kinds of safety and grace necessary for a group that includes confession and repentance in its growth process.

4.       Ask them to share their fears and resistances to confessing and repenting before a group. What has been their experience?

5.       Ask them to talk about what they need from the present group to feel comfortable confessing and repenting.

6.       Talk about a structure to confess and repent. Will it be a part of the ongoing nature of the discussions? In other words, as you study content, will you just say as you want to, “I can see where I fall short here”? Or will it be more structured, such as planning a time in the group for confession and repentance?

7.       What about forgiveness? How does the group want to convey God’s forgiveness to each other? How will they represent his priesthood? (1 Peter 2:9).

8.       In their repentance, how would they like to be helped? How would they like to be held accountable? How would they like to be supported in their changes?

These are simple concepts. But they are powerful. Encourage your group members to see themselves as confessors and repenters and also as expressions of God’s grace to each other. If that happens, all of you will find two good tasks that connect you to the anchors of reconciliation.

Cloud, H., & Townsend, J. (2010). Making small groups work: what every small group leader needs to know. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.