Leading a great discussion starts with you. Preparation is the key to ensuring that the group time is meaningful and worthwhile. Start with your mindset as you prepare for the study.
First, realize that you are preparing for a discussion not a lecture. Your goal should be to bring out other’s stories and to help others learn rather than just not tell your stories and let everyone know what you have learned. I do this by studying with two perspectives in mind. First, I study to see what God teaches me. This is key because we are leading to learn not just leading for leadership’s sake. It’s also essential that the group sees that I am applying God’s Word to my life as I lead. In fact, my example as a leader is the example that others will follow. If I am diligent in my application, my group will follow suit. If I am lukewarm in my application, my group will be also. Remember to be honest about past and current struggles you’re experiencing in your relationship with Christ. This encourages openness and builds trust within the group.
After I see what God has for me through the study, I look at it again and ask what God might have for individual group members. I pray and ask God to give me wisdom in this. Sometimes, when I know that someone needs to grow in a particular area, I may even write their name next to the question as a reminder to personally challenge them. This challenge may come in the form of a question during the study, or it may come in the form of a conversation outside of the group.