Guidelines for Successful Connection Group Interaction
(Things to share with group members)
Don’t feel obligated to speak; only do so on topics you feel comfortable addressing. If it comes to you, and you would prefer not to say anything; just say something like; “I’ll pass on this one” or something to that effect.
Finish your study guides before you arrive.
Use Bible verses with your answers when it is possible.
Bring a Bible and a pen.
Listen intentionally and take notes of things people say that help you.
Don’t be the person that dominates the conversation. Take about 30 – 60 seconds per turn. Give enough time for others to share some thoughts as well.
Stay on topic by answering the question – don’t get side tracked by addressing the topic of a previous talker rather than answering the question in focus. (i.e. try to not go off on rabbit trails.)
Try to keep your statements focused on one single “thought” per turn. Allow others to share their thoughts.
Relationships can be strengthened by understanding each others stories and past history. So share actual stories when the assignment asks for one.
Don’t try and make yourself look like the hero in every story. Be honest and transparent about past mistakes and what the Lord taught you.
Please let me know if there is a hospital need or any other need (i.e. death in the family) and I promise I will relay that to the Pastor and staff.
Connection Groups have three primary purposes:
• To provide an environment for increased application.
• To provide an appropriate environment for accountability.
• To provide an environment for spiritual affirmation.
Helpful Hints for JUST Group Leaders
(Don’t share with group; Just keep them in mind)
Have your assistant leader pick up your Connection Group packet from guest services each Sunday Morning for the following mid-week service gathering.
Make sure you have reviewed the study guide thoroughly and understand each question so you can clarify it to your group if necessary.
Encourage people to do their outlines before they arrive!!!
Don’t make anyone uncomfortable by demanding they participate (especially newer folks) Be very discerning. Offer to allow them to contribute, but be gentle.
When starting each questions say something like: “Let’s start with John, why don’t you take 30 seconds or so and then we will work our way around the table.” Always start with different folks for each question.
Allow different folks to read each verse of the Scripture passages for greater involvement.
Some questions lend themselves to allowing every person to answer the questions some do not.
Help people land their thoughts by saying something like: That’s good, or very interesting, etc. Don’t wait for silence, it will never come. Quickly cue the next person in line to speak by saying something like; “John, what about you?”
Repeat the question after everyone’s answer – this keeps people’s conversation on point.
Carefully lead your group in a way that won’t allow one person to dominate the conversation.
Help to cultivate a conversational atmosphere, not a lecturing one.
Don’t correct people’s theology. Leave deep theological discussion for Pastor and church staff. If it goes any deeper just say something like, “I’m sure Pastor would be glad to get with you on those questions.”
Always have a meal at every group gathering. People open up their hearts when they’re eating. It helps reinforce a casual, open environment. At the start of each month we will provide a sign up sheet to use to let different folks bring a meal each week.
Be gracious toward people and other leaders when folks switch from your group to another persons group.
When Dealing with Difficult Conversations:
If a Sin Issue Arises – Point focus on God’s Word for Sanctification.
Connection Groups are not about teaching or preaching at people. However, we can and should speak scripture into people’s lives.
“Here is a great verse / portion of scripture that has helped me in that type of situation.”
“Here is a scripture that might be a blessing.”
If a Suffering Issue Arises – Point focus on God’s character for Hope and Comfort.
This can be done by asking follow-up questions:
“What did God teach you through that difficulty?”
“What did you learn about God while going through that trial?”
“How did that situation draw you closer to Christ?”
“Was there a verse or passage that really helped you through that?”