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Preparing to Lead a Small Group Discussion

The goal of Bible study is to know God. Yet, there is a great difference between intellectual assent of the concept of God’s love and a personal experiential knowledge of how much God loves us. This is where community comes in. Biblical truths will often remain abstract concepts until we catch a glimpse of them being fleshed out within the context of relationships. We begin to understand sacrificial love, mercy or grace because someone has demonstrated them to us.  

At Covenant EFC, we believe discipleship best happens in the context of relationships because life transformation best happens in such a context. John Ortberg puts it beautifully: “God uses people to form people. That is why what happens between you and another person is never merely human-to-human interaction — the Spirit longs to be powerfully at work in every encounter.” 

This transformation in the community life happens when, with God’s spiritual gifts in us, we make ministering to one another’s lives a priority beyond just completing the study. 

Here are some tips as you lead a small group discussion. (adapted from From Learning to Care by Navpress, pg 98) 

  1. Serve as a facilitator, not a lecturer. Your goal is to encourage personal interaction and self-discovery. Avoid pitfalls of being overly directive or too passive. 
  2. Focus on what Scripture has to say – and not on you as the leader. Point members to Scripture and allow the Holy Spirit to make application according to each member’s needs. 
  3. Maintain an atmosphere of love and acceptance which will lead to open discussion. Never put down a person’s comments or contribution. 
  4. Ask open-ended questions which have several possible answers and which can’t be answered by a simple “yes” or “no”. 
  5. Encourage involvement by calling on non-participants by name to respond. This also helps control the “overly” talkative. 
  6. Stimulate discussion by active feedback to responses such as:
    – Acknowledging responses whenever you can.
    – Asking follow-up questions to clarify a too general or “vague” response.
  7. Deal with wrong responses and comments by asking, “What do others think?” or “Does everyone agree?” Never tell a person he is wrong. This kills an open discussion atmosphere. 
  8. Encourage application by asking, “What should we do differently as a result of this discussion?” 
  9. Keep the discussion on track by acknowledging the problem or new issue raised, but suggesting that you table the issue until you finish your present discussion. Your attitude toward the tangent should always be positive. 
  10. Summarize the main ideas that are presented to help keep the group focused. 

May God grant you wonderful, life-giving encounters with His Word in your community!  

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Daily Devo

Daily Devotional Journal

Scripture:
1 Samuel 23:10-14
Sat, 25 September 2021

Security in “Keilah” Discipleship Journey

Observation:

What significant observations can you make about God in verses 10 to 14?

Deeper Reflection
DAVID’S “KEILAH” discipleship journey (1 Sam 23:1-13) begins with David fighting for Keilah to save their lives (vv.1-5), but ironically, it ends with David fleeing from Keilah to save his own life (vv.12-13). When God spoke to David about saving Keilah from the Philistines, He gave him this assurance: “I will give the Philistines into your hand” (v.4). God kept His word and David delivered Keilah with a great slaughter of the Philistines (v.5). Then when David inquired of God if Keilah would surrender him to Saul, God’s word to him was just “They will surrender you” (v.12) – and nothing more. There was no promise of deliverance. No word of direction. No word as to what David should do next. All David and his troops did next was they “departed from Keilah and they went wherever they could go” (v.13). But the narrator calls for eyes of faith to see God’s presence and providence in this “wherever they could go”, which appears to speak of lostness and uncertainty. David faced almost constant danger from Saul, but he always “escaped” (v.13) – a continuity of David’s “escape” journey (1 Sam 19:10, 12, 17, 18; 22:1). Keilah would surrender David “into the hand of Saul” (vv.11-12), but “God did not deliver him into his hand”, even though Saul “sought him every day” (v.14). David might be going “wherever they could go” with Saul pursuing him “every day”, but he was secure in God’s hand.
Application:

How will I live in situations when all I can do is to go wherever I could go?

Prayer:
Write a prayer to God as your response from your meditation on and application of the Scriptures.
Prayer Pointers:
  • Give thanks and praise:
  • For Church Board: To walk under God’s hand in uncertain times
  • Pray for significant people:
  • Pray for those in need:
  • Pray for self:

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