5 Tips for Better Group Conversations
Encouraging deep and meaningful Bible study discussions
By BSF Staff
In a small group Bible study, the goal is always to create a healthy, secure space where open and honest conversations flow and everyone feels equally free to contribute. Some groups find their groove from the word “go,” while others move at a slower pace.
Whether it feels natural or takes intentional time, studying the Bible in a group is helpful for proper Scripture interpretation and long-term spiritual growth. For “as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).
The following five tips will help you encourage deep, free-flowing conversation in your groups:
1. Remove distractions
Focusing after a long day of work, parenting, or other life circumstances can be difficult. If we want to put worries aside to be present in our groups, we have to be intentional. What specific behaviors or habits could you use to shift your focus before sitting down with your group?
One method is to get out a piece of paper and write down everything on your mind. Write down anxieties, distractions, expectations of the evening, plans for tomorrow, and anything else consuming your thoughts. Getting our mind-clutter out and onto the page frees us to focus on one another.
Remember Paul’s advice in Philippians to “not be anxious about anything” but to turn to prayer. As a result, “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
If we want to put worries aside to be present in our groups, we have to be intentional.
2. Be vulnerable
Commit to being open with your group. If you choose to be vulnerable, it will lead others to do the same! Your group and discussion will be better for it.
While it can be scary to let yourself show weakness or not have all the answers, you are called to true community. That means showing the real you and your real life. Share your true prayer requests and answers to questions, not just what you think is acceptable or will make others think well of you.
James tells us, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16).
If you choose to be vulnerable, it will leads others to do the same!
3. Build community
The first step to building community in your group is showing up! Make sure that your group is a priority in your life. As much as you are able, show up to every group meeting.
However, showing intentional care and interest in other group members should extend beyond your weekly meeting. Could you follow up with a member on a prayer request they shared during your discussion? Is there a need you could meet for them? Would you extend an invitation to get to know someone personally outside of your group?
Hebrews reminds us, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Showing intentional care and interest in other group members should extend beyond your weekly meeting.
4. Stay on topic
During your group discussion, it is best to stay focused on the passage and follow the guidance of your group leader.
While it’s always great to share your perspective and life with the group, it may be best to hold back from giving your review of a recent movie, bringing up a divisive political topic, or telling a long story about a recent vacation during your discussion time.
Before you speak, think, “Is this relevant to the group discussion? Am I talking to draw attention to myself or to share for the good of the group?”
5. Grow together
Just as there is always room to grow in God’s Word, there is room for everyone to grow in group Bible study. If you commit as a group to growth, you will all be able to look back and see how far you’ve come by the end of your time together.
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