The following guidelines are suggested for facilitating a small group in Bible study:

  • Prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit to teach.
  • Observe deep confidentiality. Nothing said in the group will ever be repeated to other people.
  • Be present as fully as possible. Be here with all your doubts, fears, and failings as well as your convictions, joys, and successes; your listening as well as your speaking.
  • What is offered in the group is by invitation, not demand.┬áThis is not a “share or die” event! During the group’s time together, do whatever your soul calls for, and know that you do it with the group’s support.
  • Speak your truth in ways that respect other people’s truth. Our view of reality may differ, but speaking one’s truth in our group does not mean interpreting, correcting, or debating what others say. Speak from your center to the center of the group. Use “I” statements, trusting the Holy Spirit to do the sifting and winnowing.
  • Know that it is possible to leave the group with whatever it was that you needed when you arrived and that the seeds planted here can keep growing in the days ahead.
  • Trust and learn from silence. Silence is a gift in our noisy world and a way of knowing in itself. Treat silence as a member of the group. After someone has spoken, take time to reflect without immediately filling the space with words.
  • Ask yourself, “what can I learn?” When others in the group share scripture, poems, storis, questions, and silence, ask yourself, “what can I learn from this?”
  • Learn to respond to others with honest, open questions instead of counsel, corrections, etc.
  • No fixing, saving, advising or correcting each other.
  • When the going gets rough, turn to wonder. If you feel judgmental, or defensive, as yourself, “I wonder what brought her to this belief?” “I wonder what he’s feeling right now?” I wonder what my reaction teaches me about myself?” Set aside judgment to listen to others – and to yourself – more deeply.

###Brandon Blankenship

Attributions: Image credit: Camfire in the dark, Jerry Kirkhard CC flickr 8SEP2010