Pastor Ginduk from Flickr by caB.jm’s photostream
I know that a position as Sabbath School group discussion leader is one of the unwanted position in some Adventist church. You got to come early and face a bunch of people who never study their Sabbath School lessons. Help!
Do it wrongly and you got a dull and boring SS discussion… And that was the case with my church youth SS group discussion few years ago.
I tried several ways on how to improve the live of our youth SS discussion. Some works, some don’t, but in the process I learned several things that I believe are essential to improve a SS group discussion.
In this post I want to share to you some of the things that work in my church. 😀
1. Small is Beautiful (and Circle Formation is Advantageous)
When it comes to the size of SS discussion, I prefer a small size of 4-6 person. Why? Because it encourage everyone to speak.
Smaller size means that less number of eye contact and since what refrain most of the people to speak is fear of rejection, the small size becomes your advantage to make everyone speak.
For any new SS group leader I encourage you to try this as this also will build your confidence as you try to lead more and more number of people.
There are some cases where you cannot force this idea of small group discussion size, but you can have a list of question and divide the group to discuss the questions seperately.
If possible, also create the group discussion in a circle form. It will make everyone sees everyone and also encourage a live group discussion. I believe this is one of the critical factor for encouraging everyone to speak too.
Most of Sabbath School group discussion I know is setup similar to a class room where the SS group leader stands in front of several rows of pew. It’s not so hard to guess who do all the talking in this kind of setup.
2. Get Prepared
Preparation is what a SS group leader should do every week. As SS group leader you should read your Sabbath School lessons everyday, period. You cannot skim read the lessons on Friday night and hope everything will be allright the next morning. It doesn’t work that way.
Your group will easily notice whenever you lack of preparation. Those of you who have experience it, you know what I’m talking about.
3. Choose The Proper Weapons
If preparation guarantees you ready for the discussion, choosing the right materials guarantees you to have a great discussion. Although we believe in “Bible and Bible alone”, preparing with the right materials broaden your mind of what the lesson could lead to.
You can refer to my earlier post “Djitz Sabbath School Stack” to see my list of weapons before leading the SS discussion on Sabbath.
Pray in your heart before you read your Bible and SS lessons, and before you go to Church on Sabbath, and pray together before you start your SS group discussion. There is no such thing as too much prayer.
I learned my lesson when one of my youngest student in AY reminded me that we didn’t pray before we start the Pathfinder lesson.
(Wait a second, are we talking about AY or SS?)
The point is, you can forget anything in this tips but never forget to pray to God that He will lead you as you lead the discussion.
5. Ask Questions
SS group leader should not do all the talk, for it won’t be a discussion.
Besides your goal here is to make everyone thinks and talks (if possible) so go ahead, prepare some questions before you start the SS discussion and asks for everyone’s opinion appropriately.
SS lesson has some good questions you can easily ask. Most of the resources in my Sabbath School Stack will also give you some more good questions. You even may also ask some of your personal questions sometimes.
Here’s how I do the discussion:
First, I present the lesson title, have people read the texts and I explain briefly what the lesson of that particular day is all about.
Then I ask the group about the question that I have prepared in relation with the lesson.
Let the discussion flow from there, but keep it under the lesson context.
6. You Don’t Know Everything, Don’t Act As If You Do
Face it, nobody knows everything about Bible, not even your Pastor, so why should you act like you do?
Humbleness is one important characteristic for a SS discussion leader. However much resources you have read prior to the SS discussion you will never know all the questions that your group will ask.
Rather than trying to be the know it all, why not ask everyone’s opinion of the matter? You will be surprised on how much actually we can learn from everyone.
Don’t smile only to the cute girl (or guy) in the group, but smile generously to everyone in the group. People don’t go to church to see people frown, they go to church to feel how everyone is happy in the Sabbath day.
I believe Jesus must have smiled a lot during Sabbath when He was in this Earth.
I usually smile whenever I don’t know an answer. I smile whenever anyone try to tell me I’m dead wrong.
Control yourself and your words, don’t let emotion takes control when you lead a SS discussion. Keep smiling.
Believe me, becoming a Sabbath School group discussion leader is one of the most interesting responsibility in a church. When else you have the chance to talk and discuss about Bible with a group of people? You will also meet so many different types of people with their different understanding and perceptions.
Simply put, if you are one of the person who likes to meet different types of people, you’ll love it.
Moreover, a Sabbath School group discussion leader bears a heavy responsibility of leading the group to Jesus, the main reason of the Sabbath worship itself. Never take it for granted.
If you have some other tips that you can share here, please write them in the comment section.
God bless your Sabbath School discussion brothers and sisters! 😀