As a leader, you want to generate an atmosphere of honesty and trust and starting new groups where people may not know each other very well can be challenging. The Deepening LifeTogether Video Bible Study Series is a great video Bible Study for small groups and has proven tips and tools to help small group leaders and churches start and sustain dynamic small groups.
Here is a tip from Brett Eastman, founder of LifeTogether:
Leadership Honesty breads Group Honesty
The best thing you can do to encourage honesty in your group is to be honest yourself. This doesn't mean spilling your guts about your darkest secrets. It means asking for prayer in an area of your life where you're genuinely struggling; it means letting go of the myth that the leader needs to appear perfect; it means being genuine in your responses to the questions.
One way to develop group honesty is to have each member share four people, circumstances, events, or places that have left lasting impressions on them and made them the people they are today. Because some people have trouble talking about themselves so openly, you can use "hands" as a visual aid (click here to download group form).
Group members can write or draw thoughts, words, or pictures on the four hands and explain their drawings to the group.
If you have group members who think the drawing part is too cute, that's okay. Different temperaments like different things. The point is to share key influences from their lives, with or without a drawing.
Ideally, give people ten minutes to figure out what they want to talk about and do the drawing, and then five minutes apiece to share with the group.
If you have eight people in your group, that adds up to fifty minutes. Maybe you want to ask people to share just one person or event that has left a lasting impression on their lives. The goal is to develop honesty in your group and to help people open up about themselves.
If crunched by time, another option is to have people share their lasting impressions and pray together in smaller circles of three or four people.
Sub-grouping multiplies the amount of airtime each person gets. You don't have to worry so much about people who dominate and people who are shy. When you ask someone in each subgroup to facilitate the discussion, you are giving those people a chance to experiment with leadership in a safe way.
When people share personal things, the group's response is crucial. People need to sense that it's safe to tell the truth about themselves. Emphasize that anything shared in the group stays in the group.
Pay attention as people share, and when they're done, genuinely thank them. Acknowledge when someone says something that moves you. And even if someone shares something that seems bland, let them know you appreciate their story just as much as someone else's.
Finally, be sure that whatever you share about yourself comes from the heart and gives the group a real glimpse of who you are deep down. --- Brett Eastman
Our Deepening Life curriculum is a “Purpose Driven Bible Study” and each group session includes activities to strengthen small groups and encourage individuals to connect with God and one-another, grow to be like Christ, develop their gifts to serve others, share their life’s ministry and surrender their lives to God’s pleasure. These small group DVD Bible studies can be a great tool for small group leaders.
Deepening Life Curriculum includes more than 14 small group video Bible studies: Praying God’s Way, Promises of God, Romans, Acts, Ephesians, the book of Revelation, the Gospel of John, Parables, Fruit of the Spirit, Psalms, James, and character studies on Ruth and the Apostle Paul.
Deepening Life Together Kits for small group leaders include a DVD and Group Discussion Guide. Leader notes and group forms are located in the back of each guide. Deepening Life DVDs include short video segments called “Leader Lifters” which leaders can watch before each group session for quick tips on what the group session will include.
If you would like to receive special offers and discount coupons for our small group video Bible studies, or receive more tips on developing your small group ministry, (click here) to receive our monthly newsletter and access to our Exclusive Free Stuff page where you can download group forms and resources.
Brett Eastman served as the Small Group Champion at Saddleback Church and Willow Creek Community Church for over a decade. Brett has produced and either authored or co-authored over 200 small group curriculum series including the bestselling Purpose Driven Small Group curriculum, Doing Lifetogether published by Zondervan, which has sold over 3,000,000 copies. He also was the primary designer behind the 40 Days of Purpose Campaigns that fueled over 25,000 churches around the world. He also wrote and produced the first Purpose Driven small group series for Rick Warren that influenced the development of over 50 small group series to date.