Do Your Group Members Need a Handout?

Are you concerned that your small group members forget what they discussed the instant they walk out the door in your meeting? I’ve certainly been in small group meetings when the group leader asked about the topic of the last meeting and the members couldn’t remember what they discussed.

Rick Howerton wrote a blog post that listed some of the overlooked essentials for church leaders. It is entitled 5 Often Overlooked Equity Building Leadership Necessities. Although Rick focused his list of leadership necessities for pastors and church staff, it also applies to small group leaders.

One sentence caught my attention as a really great idea to use for small group meetings:

“Always prepare SOMETHING to hand out or draw on the white board before the experience begins.”

Rick Howerton

Give a Visual Take-Away

In his book Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School, John Medina states that “vision trumps all other senses.” So by engaging our brain with visual cues (especially pictures) about the topic we’re learning about and applying, we are much more likely to learn and remember it.

What are some ways that we can provide this visual stimulation to your group members at meetings? Here are three that I have used in the past:

Handout

The use of a handout is great because the members can take it with them. They have the ability of looking at a many times after the meeting has concluded. They can even post it in places that gives them a reminder Throughout the day of what the lesson was about and how they agreed to apply it in their lives.

I recommend you don’t fill up the handout completely with text. Find ways that you can illustrate the point you’re trying to make with the handout through pictures.

Object Lesson

The use of a visual object can be powerful when conducting a small group discussion.

One that I’ve used in the past the received a great response was on the discussion of drinking. I knew that the group I was leading had different opinions about whether to drink or when to drink alcohol as a Christian. The object that I used was a drinking glass (specifically a champagne flute) that I kept in sight of all the members. I referred to it frequently throughout the Bible study and discussion. By using an actual glass in the discussion, it made the conversation more real and current. It also can bring the Bible study and conversation to mind in the future when a member sees a drinking glass.

By the way, we didn’t walk out of the small group meeting agreeing with each other on what each of us should do. But we did walk away with a better understanding of what the Bible says about it, what each member’s opinion was, and how some chose to change their views, especially when it came to drinking in the presence of others.

Whiteboard or Flip Chart

Another way to provide a visual stimulation during the meeting is to use a whiteboard or flip chart. Usually you would have these on an easel and then use the proper markers to draw your illustrations before the meeting starts and as a conversation is going on. You can also capture ideas that come from group members in this way.

Encourage note taking in your small group discussion so your group members are walking away with that information captured in their notes that can be reviewed throughout the weeks months and years.

Another idea is to use your smartphone to take a picture of the whiteboard or flip board. Email the photos to our group members to review and use after the meeting.

These are three ways that you can provide a visual cue to your small group members that will aid them in remembering what the lesson was that you discussed and how to apply it. I challenge you to use these techniques in your small groups. Pa attention to the impact it has on your members. Feel free to vary between them. Feel free to find other ways to accomplish the same thing.

Question: what are some additional ways besides the three mentioned here that could provide or stimulate your visual senses to help remember the discussion? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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