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At the end of each week’s personal study, you will find discussion questions to help you facilitate your small-group time. Each begins with an introductory question to help group members get to know one another and feel comfortable contributing their voices to the discussion. These questions may prove to be most helpful during the early weeks of the study, but as the group grows more familiar with one another, you may decide to skip the introductory question to allow more time to discuss the questions covering the lesson.
Following the introductory question, you will find four questions to help group members compare what they have learned from their personal study on days 2 through 5. These questions are either pulled directly from the personal study or summarize a concept or theme that the personal study covered. Each two-part question covers content from a particular day of the personal study, first asking group members to reflect, and then asking them to apply. The reflection questions typically ask group members to report a finding or flesh out an interpretation. The application questions challenge them to move beyond intellectual understanding to identify ways to live differently in light of what they have learned.
As a small-group leader, you will want to review these questions before you meet with your group, thinking through your own answers, marking where the questions occur in the personal study, and noting if there are any additional questions you might want to reference to help the flow of the discussion. These questions are suggestions only, intended to help you cover as much ground as you can in your discussion time. They should not be seen as requirements or limitations, but as guidelines to help you prepare your group for the video teaching time by allowing them to process collectively what they have learned during their personal study.
As a facilitator of discussion rather than a teacher, you are allowed and encouraged to be a co-learner with your group members. This means you may not always feel confident of your answer to a given question, and that is perfectly OK. Because we are studying for the long-term, we are allowed to leave some questions partially answered or unresolved, trusting for clarity at a later time. In most cases, the video teaching time should address any lingering questions that are not resolved in the personal study or the small-group discussion.