Last night we had a 90 minute gathering with our small group leaders to touch base. Since we are nearing the half-way point of our small group season, it felt like a good time to remind them of a couple of basics concerning the lesson time in their groups. I shared three super basic reminders:
1) Remember, the lesson time is about them, not you.
Peer pressure, wise choices, honoring mom and dad etc. are topics I've taught dozens and dozens of times as a junior high pastor. To be honest, I'm sick of teaching this kind of stuff but it's NOT ABOUT ME! Small group isn't the time to take what you've been chewing on in your own spiritual journey and try to turn it into a junior high lesson.
2) Experiential learning is the best kind of learning.
Studies indicate that people retain about 60-70% more information when it involves some sort of hands-on, experiential learning. Avoid the temptation to simply lecture your small group for 30 minutes.
3) Mix it up!
Don't do the same stuff over and over again. utilize a wide variety of experiential learning opportunities. If your students absolutely love something, don't over-use it or else it will become old and ineffective. A 'Field Trip' lesson is amazing until you start doing field trips every week....then they lose their luster.