25 Small Group Facilitator Tips Small Groups

Facilitator Tip #16 – Don’t Answer Your Own Questions

If you have led a small group for any length of time you know that sometimes you ask a question and no one responds. And, let’s be honest: it is awkward, embarrassing, and discouraging. But as a small group facilitator, you don’t want to answer your own questions.

Facilitator Tip 16 - Don't Answer Your Own Questions


Why Not Answer Your Own Questions?

If you as the facilitator ask a question—then jump in and answer it before others talk—it discourages the group from sharing their thoughts. The group recognizes you as the leader, so if you share your answer before others share, then it tells the group that you have all the answers, and that you have shared the right answers. As a result, others will be scared to share their answers because they might differ with yours. You only want to share your answer to a question after others have already had a chance to share.

The Goal Is Get Others to Talk

While it is tempting to answer your own questions when people want to talk, it is important that you focus on getting others to talk and share their thoughts. Your goal is to get people to talk about the Bible (while using a tool like the Wiersbe Bible study guides or Chip Ingram study guides), what’s going on in their lives, and how they can apply what they are learning.

How to Not Answer Your Own Questions

Here are three basic tips to help you not answer your own questions.

  • First, let the group sit in silence for a bit. A little bit of silence is okay.
  • Second, ask the question again. You might want to read the question slower or maybe rephrase it slightly to help people understand it.
  • Third, just move on to the next question.

If the group struggles to understand what a question is asking or is not sure how to answer, just move on to the next question.

25 Small Group Facilitator Tips Small Groups

Facilitator Tip #15 – Silence Is Okay

You’ve spent time throughout the week preparing for your group, praying for the people in it, and now it is time to facilitate a discussion. You are excited to get the group to talk about Scripture and see how they are applying what they are learning to their lives.

Then you show up to the group, ask a question and no one says anything! It is awkward and embarrassing and discouraging.

So, what do you do?

I would like to explain to you why silence is okay in your small group, what not to do with silence, and what to do with the silence.

Facilitator Tip 15 - Silence Is Okay


Why Silence Is Okay in Your Small Group

It is easy to think that silence in your small group is bad. However, there are various reasons that people might not speak up and answer when you ask them questions.

25 Small Group Facilitator Tips Small Groups

Facilitator Tip #14 – Delegate Your Busy Weeks or Seasons

Facilitating a small group discussion each week is not the only thing you are responsible to do in your life. Most people have at least one job, a family, volunteer with service organizations, and have other things to do. When you know that you have a busy season of your life approaching, you might want to delegate your facilitator responsibilities.[ref]


But, is delegation a biblical idea? Let’s take a look at some examples of delegation in the Bible.


Moses was in the wilderness with the nation of Israel and was listening to the people’s disputes against each other from “morning till evening” (Exod 18:13). He was a busy guy and likely had little time for anything else. Moses’s father-in-law, Jethro, saw what he was doing and told him,

21But select from all the people some capable, honest men who fear God and hate bribes. Appoint them as leaders over groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten. 22They should always be available to solve the people’s common disputes, but have them bring the major cases to you. Let the leaders decide the smaller matters themselves. They will help you carry the load, making the task easier for you. 23If you follow this advice, and if God commands you to do so, then you will be able to endure the pressures, and all these people will go home in peace. (Exod 18:21-23, NLT)

Jethro tells Moses to find some good leaders, to appoint them to a leadership position, and that those men could help Moses with his work.


Paul was writing about spiritual gifts to the believers in the city of Ephesus when he told them,

11Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. (Eph 4:11-12, emphasis added)

Here Paul instructs us that the job of pastors and teachers is not to do ministry. Instead, their job is to equip people to do ministry.

2 Timothy

Paul was writing the last of all of his letters we have in the New Testament when he told his disciple Timothy.

You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others. (2 Tim 2:2, emphasis added)

Delegation is at the heart of Paul’s words here. Paul is asking Timothy to teach to others what Paul has already taught to Timothy.


Paul told another of his disciples, Titus a similar message.

I left you on the island of Crete so you could complete our work there and appoint elders in each town as I instructed you. (Titus 1:5)

Titus was left on the island of Crete by Paul to do ministry. But the time has come now for Titus to delegate that ministry to the elders.


The apostle John was told,

I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this message for the churches. I am both the source of David and the heir to his throne. I am the bright morning star. (Rev 22:16, emphasis added)

There are a few levels of delegation here. Jesus gives the message to an angel, and that angel gives the message to John, and John is supposed to give the message to the seven churches.[/ref]


Facilitator Tip 14 - Delegate Your Busy Weeks or Seasons

Four Practical Aspects to a Healthy Small Group

You need to have four elements in place in your small group to maintain a healthy and strong group. For the sake of review, let’s take a look at those.

25 Small Group Facilitator Tips Small Groups

Facilitator Tip #13 – Encourage the Group to Work Through the Lesson Before Coming to the Meeting

One of the principles I regularly teach our small group leaders is to encourage the people in their small group to work through the lesson before coming to the small group meeting. Often it is easy for Christians to become lazy and not want to dedicate time and effort to growing in their Christian faith (see Proverbs 6). As a result sometimes people come to their small group and they haven’t read the passage assigned for that week, they have not prayed about their study, nor have they looked at the questions assigned for discussion for that week. This means that the people part of the group lose out on the growth and insights they would have experienced if they spent some time reading the passage assigned for that week, prayed about what they were learning, and taken some time to answer the questions. In this blog post facilitator tip, I want to show you how and why to encourage your group to work through the lesson before coming to the group.

Facilitator Tip 13 - Encourage the Group to Work Through the Lesson Before Coming to the Meeting


Just as you as the facilitator need to spend some time preparing for the small group discussion, the members of your small group should spend some time in preparation too. Here’s why.

Why Encourage Them to Work Through the Lesson Before Coming to the Group

The people in your group will get more out of the study if they invest time in the study before talking about it in the group. Here’s why.