Traits of a HOST certainly influence a Group’s conversation. Facilitating rather than teaching allows the leader to encourage all members to discuss what they are learning. Leaders who facilitate well:
- Are not afraid or offended by a Group member’s input that is troubling or “out of left field.”
- Are prepared for difficult questions and discussions but limit their own opinions and input.
- Understand that they should be talking only 20 percent of the time at most.
- Encourage others to share, listen attentively when others speak, and are affirming.
Asking great questions is the best way for leaders to create conversational environments. This was Christ’s example. Throughout his ministry, he was asked many questions and responded with few answers. Instead of answering, he questioned. Jesus knew that a great question forces people to consider the truth, think about their own experiences, and reflect.
- Ask open-ended questions, not those that can be answered with a simple yes or no.
- Ask questions that evoke feelings, make people think, and lead to insights.
- Ask questions that have more than one right answer.
- Ask questions that encourage personal examples.
- Ask questions that stimulate others to apply what they are learning.
Responding to questions by promoting participation from the whole Group and asking good follow-up questions engages everyone. Responses should connect questions to the topics; allow the leaders and others to admit their own personal struggles; and encourage self-discovery by allowing group members to arrive at conclusions for themselves.