INFORMATION – although in the previous post I have stressed the importance of relationships, perhaps at the expense of simply a discussion being just a platform for information dissemination – I think that WHAT we talk about is essential too.
As a discussion leader you must be familiar with your material. If you’re leading a Bible study – you must be well acquainted with the passage and particularly its context. Read it several times, underlining the interesting and intriguing items that ‘jump’ at you.
If you use the notes provided, make sure that you understand them and own them. The points and questions will always come across better if you make them yours. Often, therefore, the questions might need tweaking and customizing. There’s nothing worse than a discussion leader squinting at the notes and saying: ‘I haven’t got a clue what this means’…
It would be fantastic if people would know the subject/passage due to be discussed so that they could familiarise themselves with it. Though not all will do their ‘homework’ – some might and the discussion would be enriched by it.
If your discussion is a Church small group – take time to read the passage discussed and get people (who are comfortable reading out loud) to participate in reading it. Sometimes it helps using different versions too, or even making up a dramatized reading.
Here are some helpful questions worth using as a check regarding information for your discussion leading:
Can I sum up the theme & purpose of our discussion – in a sentence each?
What are the tricky issues/questions I can anticipate people bringing up?
If I could use 3 questions only – what would they be?
Can I let people know in advance what we are doing so they can prepare too?