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I lead a Discipleship class in a maximum/medium penitentiary.  I use Navigators courses DFD and 2:7. Last night I was challenged by one of the men with an answer to one of the questions in the course we are going through. His answer was completely wrong and in fact led us in a discussion that revealed where the man was at in his walk-it was not a good place. Now my question is-How do we depend on the Holy Spirits lead at times when emotions run high in the conversations within the group you are leading?

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Well, this is difficult.  Although I have not been in a prison situation, I have been leading small groups that had lots of "latent heat" in the discussions.  One way to handle this is to stop and pray in the group.  Pray for God's Spirit to work in everyone, and for all to have interactions in His love.  Sometimes He intervenes mightily through this.  Another way is to cool it down by distributing pencil and paper and having directed questions answered by each person in writing.  So, for example, you would ask some open-ended "how do you feel about" type questions, and ask them to write their answers.  Then take each one and do some scriptural study together on it...  Don't know if either of these will work but they might be worth a try.

 

Kitty

Thanks for the 2 suggestions. The first one I did and it worked well as the Spirit seem to give two others direction for this man and I was able to see it work out in the discussion. I will remember the second one for future use. I have been in the class again since I wrote this discussion topic and the man that I referred to was not there. So I am praying for him. Blessings Larry

Kathryn Holt Ashley said:

Well, this is difficult.  Although I have not been in a prison situation, I have been leading small groups that had lots of "latent heat" in the discussions.  One way to handle this is to stop and pray in the group.  Pray for God's Spirit to work in everyone, and for all to have interactions in His love.  Sometimes He intervenes mightily through this.  Another way is to cool it down by distributing pencil and paper and having directed questions answered by each person in writing.  So, for example, you would ask some open-ended "how do you feel about" type questions, and ask them to write their answers.  Then take each one and do some scriptural study together on it...  Don't know if either of these will work but they might be worth a try.

 

Kitty

Wow that would be a difficult situation. Normally I'll address the individual and say, "Let's get together and talk about that later." If I could not do that, I think I'd sure be praying to myself. I'd thank God for the situation and allowing me to see where the person was spiritually; I'd direct the conversation to what does God's Word say about this subject. I'd have prayer with the group reminding them that God is not the author of confusion and asking God to reveal truth to each one of us.

Thanks for the input Paulette-

I will let you in on the conversation a little. He asked if we as Christians were able to just get to a point in our walks and take some time to relax and kick back for a season. That is what provoked the discussion. I had lots of scripture to quote to him but it was a disguise for what was going on in his life. Thanks for the ideas. Blessing Larry



Paulette said:

Wow that would be a difficult situation. Normally I'll address the individual and say, "Let's get together and talk about that later." If I could not do that, I think I'd sure be praying to myself. I'd thank God for the situation and allowing me to see where the person was spiritually; I'd direct the conversation to what does God's Word say about this subject. I'd have prayer with the group reminding them that God is not the author of confusion and asking God to reveal truth to each one of us.

These are the guidelines for small group discussions where I go to church.

GUIDELINES for Small Group Discussion:

 

SAFE ENVIRONMENT: This needs to be a place where people feel comfortable opening up and sharing with one another. Below are guidelines that will help create a safe environment:

CONFIDENTIALITY: What is said in the group stays in the group.

LISTEN: Let's value one another during the discussions by really listening to what is being shared. Try to avoid thinking about how you are going to respond, or what you are going to say next.

PAUSE: Allow a pause in conversation after someone shares. Give the person sharing the chance to finish and the group the opportunity to consider what was just shared before responding.

SILENCE: It is important to allow silence in the group as it provides an opportunity for someone to share and for members in the group to process the topic or question being considered.

NO "CROSS TALK": Be considerate of others as they are sharing. No side conversations.

NO FIXING: We are not here to fix each other. Jesus does that part. Give encouragement; speak truth, point to Jesus. Don't try to solve or fix each other.

NO RESCUING: When people are sharing something deeply personal, there can be a tendency to try to make them feel better about themselves or the situation by providing immediate condolences. This will often cause them to stop sharing. Resist the temptation to rescue people.

SHARING: Be sensitive about the amount of time you share.

BE SELF-AWARE: Be self-aware of how you are personally effecting the environment through your words, actions, and non-verbal communication.

"I" STATEMENTS: It's easy to talk about the issues of others, but for our purposes, we want you to put yourself on the table. Try to use "I" statements rather than "them", "the church", "us", "we", etc.

CONFLICT: We will commit to resolve conflict biblically. When conflict or sin issues between group members arise, we want to make sure that we are honoring God and each other in the way we deal with these issues. The following are a few key Scriptures in this regard (there are many others).

If someone sins against you: Matt 78:75-20

• Restoring someone in sin: GaI6:7-5

• Forgive a sinner: CoI3:72-73

• Reconciling differences: Matt 5:23-24,  Matt 7:1-5

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