We tend to be very relational; many small groups eat together and can spend hours laughing and chatting. This is a gift, and rich spiritual exchanges happen in the midst. However, Scripture study and prayer can often get squeezed to the last 30 minutes. Another reality is our growing collection of kids, which also is a gift but calls us to fight harder for focus.
So, how do we pursue robust spiritual conversations in our groups?
Last week we posed the question: Why do we miss out on robust spiritual conversations, especially in our small groups? George Costanza gave us a few hints (self-obsession, inability to engage conflict, etc.). However, in our small groups at Warehouse, other obstacles emerge—from our cultural norms to logistics.
We tend to be very relational; many groups eat together and can spend hours laughing and chatting. This is a gift, and rich spiritual exchanges happen in the midst. However, Scripture study and prayer can often get squeezed to the last 30 minutes. Another reality is our growing collection of kids, which also is a gift but calls us to fight harder for focus.
So, how do we pursue robust spiritual conversations in our groups? Here’s a tick-list of some of the things we are doing; we’ll zero-in on two of them in greater depth next week. And, I look forward to hearing what is working for you.
- Understanding spiritual conversations are transformational, and can be rare. It’s important for our small group leaders to realize the beauty and potency of discussing how Jesus’ words and deeds integrate into and inform our great longings and annoyances. These spiritual conversations can help our faith go from being theory to becoming embedded into who we are. And for many people, small group night is the most consistent space in their weekly calendar to have such a conversation. They often can’t have this kind of conversation at work, or with the small kids, or with their neighbors. So, our small groups can’t afford to miss out on such conversations—for the sake of our community’s spiritual vitality, for our individual connection with Jesus and ultimately for God’s work in the world.
- Praying for and preparing for spiritual conversations. When our leaders ask God for significant conversations and listen to the Spirit’s leading, an openness emerges (perhaps not every time but over time).
- Leading through Scripture with a view toward intimacy with God and integration into everyday realities. We’ll explore this further next week.
- Listening with attentiveness and asking questions with intentionality. We’ll focus on this next week as well.
- Designate a timekeeper. Having someone a little obsessed with time can be beneficial. When we’re lingering at dinner but have all said we want to start our discussion at 8 p.m., a timekeeper helps us make that happen.
- Transition into different room. Changing physical space can help change psychological focus.
- Start in prayer or silence. This is a fantastic way to transition, to direct our conversation to God, and enter into a deeper listening mode.
- Light a candle or do some ritual that fits your group to mark the time.
So, what are some ways you and your groups pursue robust spiritual conversations? I’d love to hear.