10 Ways to Squash Group Discussion

When facilitating in your group, here are 10 surefire ways to stifle the discussion and keep group members from sharing:

  1. Teach.  This is your chance to dispense everything you've learned about the topic.  Study up, stand up, and do all of the talking.  Wear black-rimmed glasses and do a lot of pointing for effect.
  2. Correct.  When one of your group members answers a question with the wrong response (or at least not the response you were looking for), be sure to correct them and coldly dismiss their contribution.  Be sure to inform them of the correct answer.   
  3. Intimidate.  Use every opportunity to infuse terms like transubstantiationsactification, or substitutionary atonementinto your discussion.  Incorporating names like BonheofferStottLucado, and Luther are equally impressive.  
  4. Overload.  Be sure to come prepared with at least 40 discussion questions, which will nicely limit responses to 10 seconds or less per question.
  5. Control.  Don't permit any conversation that deviates even the slightest bit from your agenda for the group discussion.  Stick to the script and establish strict boundaries.
  6. Read.  Keep your eyes focused on your Bible and your discussion questions.  Avoid eye contact with group members at all costs.
  7. Factualize.  Be sure to focus only on facts.  Opinions, thoughts, and personal application have no value when discussing issues of faith. 
  8. Steamroll.  When you ask a question and no one responds within 2 seconds, answer the question yourself, then move on immediately to the next question.  You must keep the discussion moving.
  9. Monopolize.  As the leader you know that everyone wants to know what you have to say.  About everything.  Do most, if not all, of the talking.  Be sure to comment after anyone speaks, even when it comes to icebreaker responses.
  10. Grimace.  Groups should be a serious environment.  Since we are studying God's word, there isn't time for frivolity or fun.  Friendships, common ground, and laughter are intended to be shared outside the group.