In a recent post I offered a framework for following up a sermon in small groups. Here are some other approaches you may find helpful in your gospel community.
You may find it helpful at times to split your group into smaller groups to discuss specific questions. This will encourage contributions from those who are reluctant to speak in a larger group. You can also create groups for children or people working in their second language so they are part of the common discussion, but able to work at a level appropriate to their abilities.
Encourage people to think through the implications of a passage by constructing fictional or semi-fictional case studies. Describe a situation or a person and then ask, ‘What would you do?’ or ‘What would you say?’ You could present the case study or studies at the beginning of your study time and then return to them after looking the passage together.
Ask people to pray through the passage. Read our a verse or two at a time and ask people to respond with prayer – praise, thanksgiving, confession or supplication as appropriate. Then read out the next verse or two. The result will be a kind of ‘corporate meditation’ on the passage. This approach works better for Psalms and epistles than for stories.
Considering the opposite of the truth a passage teaches often helps to clarify the implications of what the passage actually does teach.
- Ask, ‘If someone didn’t believe this, how would they behave?’ People may begin to describe behaviours or emotions that they themselves exhibit.
- Ask people to write an opposite version of the passage. Again, in doing so they may describe behaviours or emotions that they exhibit.
- Re-write the passage (or part of the passage) in an opposite form and ask the group to ‘translate’ back into its proper form.