Leading Discussions

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Leading Discussions


You want to hold meetings in a home for at least a few months before moving to another house. Having consistent weekly meetings helps the group bond and grow together. According to the need, one group may meet for a few months, but only 3 weeks per month, then take one month off. Another group may meet every week for 3 to 4 months and then take a break for a month. Some groups eat together once every three months. And some eat dinner or lunch together every time they meet.

One with a better experience in leading discussions should take that role among the leaders. Then the group needs a set of Ground Rules to maintain order during discussions. These rules may vary from group to group or from home to home. However, at the first group meeting, it’s crucially essential that leaders discuss the following five Ground Rules and come to an agreement:

1) All participants must promise to keep confidential information within the group. In other words, participants may not share any sensitive and personal information with those who were not present, even loved ones. If necessary, one may share only the topic of the discussion but not who said what. Breaking this rule breaks confidentiality and trust, which destroys the group in the long run!

2) Avoid soliciting! Participants may not promote products, services or advise membership in a business.

3) Unlike many social groups, a fellowship group is not a meditation, advise-giving, or teacher-led group. Some participants may have a wealth of knowledge about certain things but should share only their personal experiences rather than correcting or teaching others. A group succeeds when participants are free to listen without the obligation of taking advice.

4) Participants should be considerate of time, so everyone may share.

5) Group leaders should ask for the consent of the group in advance to direct, redirect, or interrupt a conversation or a discussion whenever they deem it necessary. For example, the discussion leader should interrupt conversations if the group goes off-topic or gets stuck on a non-constructive subject. Your group will honor these rules only if you share and communicate clearly in advance. Then, after discussing the ground rules, don't hesitate to ask everyone to raise their hands as a sign of agreement and support. It will save you headaches later, and you'll be glad you did it!

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