We’ve all been there. Your small group is talking about donuts, prom, or the struggle of having braces and the surface chatter won’t stop. You’ve heard a great word from the Lord for them, but you simply cannot reign them in. You try to say something from the lesson/sermon only to have someone quickly jump back to donuts. Your flesh is yelling…"why aren’t you in an adult class eating a breakfast casserole with people your age who know your birthday?!"
You are not alone. Today I’m sharing some of my favorite transition sentences that help me get a conversation going that allows them to share their hearts and invite God into our small group time.
1. What was your tweetable phrase?
I LOVE this one. For example on Sunday morning I usually say, "ok, y'all just heard a great word. What was the one verse or concept that you'd tweet?" Or at a retreat or camp I have said, "everyone went to different breakouts. Because you all heard something different what was your tweetable sentence…Ya know it was so good and short that you have to share it?" This causes girls to think about what impacted them the most.
An easy follow up is "Why do you think God caused that to stand out to you?" Develop discipline in your girls to listen, then hear something to remember, commit to memory, and share with others.
2. What were your highs and lows for the week?
I start probably half of my current small group with this question. This question gives everyone a chance to be heard. Model active listening. See if there is a need a student has that maybe your group could bless her in. In a college small group my husband and I lead several years ago, a student shared that his high was he was making great grades, but his low was he needed a job. We asked what type of job he was looking for and asked the group if they knew of anything.
A girl knew someone in his field, and she connected them right there via email. Also, if a girl shares something heavy pause the time and pray for her immediately in the group. Develop a culture of transparency in your group and also a habit of hearing the needs of others and considering how as a group you can meet those needs.
3. Ok, what did you read in your Bible?
Hopefully this made someone smile. There are so many times I just confidently interrupt and jump right in with this with a smile. Let’s be honest. Your time with them is limited. They can talk about donuts at the lunch table the next day. Have genuine interest in what interests your girls, but also allow your time together to be primarily about making them into a disciple. Model a lifestyle that agrees with Jeremiah 20:9: “If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.”
I shared this list with Becca and she said that she asks for highs, lows, and "Whoa God". A “Whoa God” allows them to share an answered prayer or how they saw God work in their life in an amazing way. Don’t you love that? I’m for sure adding that to my go tos! Praying for you and your group. Praying that Jesus is lifted up and that the Holy Spirit teaches all of us how to create a culture in our groups that encourages listening and learning, fosters community, encourages sharing in the group and with others after group, and makes disciples! - Amy