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Tuesday
Apr242012

Knowing Others in Your Group

How well do you know the person in your small group or Bible study?  Think seriously about this question. 

A few weeks ago I was leading a small group and I started out with a general ice breaker:  tell the group something about yourself that you don't think we already know.  The response was fascinating.  One response in particular caught my attention.  I will call him George.  I knew George was a creative-type person and that he enjoyed playing with video (making movies, editing footage, etc).  But what I did not know is that he had actually spent time on a professional shoot with the popular TV series Burn Notice (season five).  George already had more past experiences than most people only dream of for their life.  He also had the battle scars that went with these "now realized dreams".  The funny thing was when he was telling the story, he only alluded to these scars at a single point, and then quickly and quietly changed the subject -- this was all he was ready to reveal at this time.  

This was a reality check for me.  I was ready to jump into my lesson plan, wow the group with some mind blowing facts and even some transformational experiences.  But there I sat with this new group thinking:  who am I really speaking to, and how can I facilitate real life change or transformational experiences if I don't even know what really makes them unique people.  How can I hope to apply the "given material" to George if there are parts to George that I don't even know myself.  

Now I know you might say, "well how can we ever know if we really know someone?"  It's almost like asking, "can you draw a perfect circle" knowing that the laws of geometry dictate that it is impossible to draw a perfect circle; at the microscopic level we will always fine imperfections.  But the real point is not how perfectly we know mental facts of someone.  Instead the point is this nagging question:  are we taking time out of our weekly schedule to be inquisitive of the people we think we know, so that we can "be Jesus on a more personal level."

Next time you begin your group session, start with a simple little question:  what movie have you watched last and why did you enjoy it, who is your favorite historical person and why, what fictional character do you like and why, etc.  These questions are not just facts about someone.  They open the door into the inner makings of a person...and this is the real person you, as a group leader, are trying to reach and facilitate life change for the Kingdom's sake.  Remember, Jesus had three years to impact his disciples.  Yet, the majority of the ink used to write the gospels tell of Jesus' last year.  The first two years spent "living life" with Jesus were important, but just in a different way -- they laid the foundation for the third year in which Jesus could change their world forever.   

So feel free to slow down and inquire about your group -- not only may it surprise you, but it may open the door to some unique transformation for unique individuals. 

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