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4 Tips for Facilitating Better Small Group Conversation

4 Tips for Facilitating Better Discussions at Small Group

What makes a great small group conversation for you? Is it the teens consistently talking? Is it about controversial debates? Is it one teen opening up about a huge issue in their life? What makes a great small group discussion will differ from person to person; however, if what you are talking about isn’t bringing the group closer together and to Christ you might want to rethink structure and content.

While you can’t force deep and engaging conversation there are things you can do to create a framework that will make them possible.

Some of those factors are:

Preparing Your Team in Advance

Not that conversations need to be orchestrated; however, if you want teens to go deeper in certain areas of their faith you need to create a path to lead them down. This means preparing your small group ministers to lead them. Get the questions out early enough, make sure they don’t have any questions, and give them resources to widen their knowledge of the subject.

Setting Up the Right Environment

If teens are uncomfortable they’ll be distracted from engaging in conversation. Make sure the room is clean, comfortable and set up for engaging conversation.

Embracing Silence

If it’s a heavy subject give them the time to process the question. The tendency is to blow through the questions because silence is awkward; however, you might be cutting off a thought, question or idea that will move the discussion to a deeper level.

Gauging the Mood

It might not be the right night to talk about certain subjects; therefore, don’t force it. If there is pushback on a subject ask the teens “Why?” if they aren’t ready to talk about it, then have the conversation move to something they want to discuss. By gauging the mood you are showing them that you care about what’s on their heart and mind.

Great discussions are ones that move us into a deeper relationship with one another. However, don’t get frustrated if every small group isn’t profound and deep. There are going to be times when you are amazed by what comes forth and others when you feel like a failure. Small groups need to be organic, which means growth. But a small group that grows through discussion is one that will strengthen and last.

What else can create great discussion in small group?

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chriswesley@churchleaders.com'
Chris graduated from Xavier University in 2003 with a BA in Communications: Electronic Media. He moved to Baltimore in the fall of 2003 where he served as a Jesuit Volunteer for a year. During that time, he was a Case Manager at Chase Brexton, met my wife Kate and felt God's calling to Student Ministry. In the summer of 2004, heI was hired by the Roman Catholic Parish Church of the Nativity in Timonium, Maryland as a Middle School Youth Minister. Today he oversees grades 5-12 as the Director of Student Ministry.