Welcome to Season 2 of the Your Church Matters podcast. In this episode (53), I answered a question that came from a lengthy email response to Episode 50 (We need to lighten up!). Larry asked, “What is the best way or ways to respond to people who make comments based on the Scripture passage being studied in Sunday School which tend to upset people who have chosen to support a group or political party which is apparently in opposition to the Scripture being studied?”
Initial response: If we are too worried about upsetting people, we will never talk about anything of significance. However, when political views become the primary focus, we have strayed far away from the purpose of Sunday School or other small group Bible studies.
If we are too worried about upsetting people, we will never talk about anything of significance. Click To Tweet
I refer you to Episode 25 (10 Commandments of Powerfully Effective Group Bible Study) for some general guidelines for a small group Bible study.
Principles for Leaders
- Make sure that the primary focus is more on eternal Biblical principles than current events and trends. The leader must model this by not bringing his or her own ax to grind.
2. Leadership of a group Bible study is not for the faint of heart. Sometimes you have to redirect a conversation that has gotten off track (the earlier, the better). This is not a place to “vent” or “debate.” This is a place to encourage each other and grow together.
3. Stay in the room. The purpose of a small group Bible study is to encourage and empower those present on their journey of discipleship. Too much time spent on “out there” issues rather than “in here” character development results in ineffective living “out there.” I refer you to my book, Culture Wars: In search of spiritual Jedi, for a deeper treatment of how we must start with us before we can have any impact on the culture at large.
4. You can’t avoid all controversial topics, but you can choose how they will be addressed in this group. Sometimes, you may want to establish ground rules for how we conduct group discussions.
5. One of the things that draws people together is to have a common enemy. Identify who the enemy really is. (Hint: check out Ephesians 6:12)
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*Special thanks to Keith Cooper (Guitar Music)
*Special thanks to Nathan Woodward (Saxophone Music)