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Evaluating Group Discussions
How well do you practice these principles of great small-group discussion?
JoHannah Reardon | posted 4/02/2013
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Evaluating Group Discussions

The first small-group discussion I led took approximately 15 minutes. No one had explained to me how to get a discussion going. Instead, I was handed a list of questions and several Scripture passages to look up. My goal was to get through it as quickly as possible so that we could have our snacks and go home.

Since then I've learned a few principles about how to lead a good discussion, several of which are listed below. Use this assessment to get a sense of your strengths and weaknesses as a discussion leader.

Learn more through: Discussing Doctrine and Theology

Good Questions Trump Information Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree
I almost never answer my own question.         
I don't assume that my interpretation of a text is always the correct one.            
I usually wait until the end of a discussion to offer my opinion.            
Restate a Question that Doesn't Work at First            
When I ask a question, I allow enough time for the group to process their thoughts and give their answers.            
If a question isn't generating discussion, I restate it to help the group try again.            
Communicate Love, Not Judgment            
I never make light of or ridicule a group member's answer to a question.            
When a group member offers an opinion that is an obvious heresy, I don't avoid the issue.            
I feel confident in my ability to bring doctrinal discussions back to Scripture.            
When encountering a heretical or disruptive group member, I offer to continue the conversation later so that the group is not derailed.            
Keep the Discussion on Track            
I understand the fine line between allowing discussion to flow and degenerating into tangents or useless banter.            
When I identify a statement or opinion that is off the subject, I am able to steer the discussion back on track.            
I bathe our group's discussion times in prayer.            

JoHannah Reardon, a pastor's wife, is the former editor of She blogs at and is the author of seven fictional books and a family devotional guide.

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