The ABCD's of Discussion
It took me three years to get up enough courage and capacity to start my first Bible study on my street. I loved my neighbors through acts of kindness, purposefully pursued them with hospitality, and boldly stepped out in faith to invite them to a Bible study, but when they came together, I noticed a huge tendency towards having a visiting session and not a Bible study group. Here is an example of a few questions that can arise in a Bible study setting,
“Is the organic food movement all a scam? I saw a documentary on Netflix…” “Have I ever told you how my husband and I met?” “Is the HOA unjust? I think owners, not renters get citations.”
I view the ABCD’s of discussion as an investment protection plan. Without the ABCD’s of discussion, much of our precious 1.5 hours together would have been lost down rabbit trails.
The ABCD’s of discussion guidelines are preparation for and a powerful tool against this very temptation. Maybe like me, you are wondering some of the following:
Aren’t we all adults and self-aware enough to not do these things?
Not in my experience. Clear group guidelines, with which everyone is expected to align gives your group a common DNA with which to be a safe environment for relationship growth.
How often do I read these guidelines?
We recommmend reading these guidelines to the group twice a year. If a need arises in the meantine, feel free to kindly remind the group
Here’s how I handled the first question using my ABCD’s of Response to Derailing Temptation,
“Thank you, Patricia, for your question about the organic food movement. We don’t have the time or ability to discuss that question. Who remembers what our “D” in the ABCD’s of Discussion is? (Someone may answer) “D” is discuss without division. Let’s look at our Bible passage this week. Who will read the next verse?”
My ABCD’s of How to Respond to Derailing Temptation:
Acknowledge you heard their question, by re-stating it back to them.
Be direct with a clear reason why that topic will not be discussed further.
Christ-centered and kind-hearted in your tone and use it as a teachable moment.
Direct the discussion back to the purpose of the gathering, Bible study.
Here are a few things I’ve created using the ABCD's of Discussion for my own Bible study that I pray will bless you as you begin your groups this year. (Also you can find more great information in the Leader Guide for each study under “Ideas for Creating a Safe, Comfortable Environment”)
What questions have you experienced in a Bible Study setting, and how was it handled? Did it make you feel safe or discourage you from returning?
Clicking on the stars at the end of your post didn’t work for me (technical glitch?), but I wanted to let you know, this is a 5-star blog post! We are leading a community group/bible study for our church in Raleigh-Durham. It is much like the ones we shared...lots of fun, meaningful times. Often, it is easy to get off topic, or derailed. This post was very helpful. May God Continue to bless you and Ben in your ministries!
Love and prayers for you,
Ernie & Leslie