Some helpful tips for leading Soul Craving small groups have emerged from our quarterly leader meetings in Minneapolis.  They include:

Ministering versus Fixing

In recent leaders meetings we talked about the difference between group members offering one another sensitive ministry and group members feeling responsible to fix other members who are hurting or who are perceived to be falling short in life in some way or other.  Fixing, we agreed, stifles heartfelt sharing (since nobody wants to be the next one “fixed”) and puts an undo sense of burden on the group.  Let’s let God do his own transforming thing in each member over time while we provide the loving, encouraging environment that helps the process.

One-Course or Full-Course Dining

Some of the groups were enjoying the initial sharing time around the readings and reflections so much that they were allowing those discussions to squeeze out other important parts of the meeting – like the group Bible meditations which take place in the second half of the session.  It was agreed that group members will enjoy a fuller, more wholistic experience if the leader can insure that all the components of the meeting are experienced.  It’s like the difference between eating a one-course meal versus a four-course meal.  It’s all good food but there is more balance and ultimate satisfaction if all the courses can be sampled.


Of the small groups represented, most had a couple of people who felt threatened by the idea of journaling – so much so that the journaling portion of the Soul Craving experience loomed too large in their minds.  For some, of course,  journaling is a deeply enriching experience.  For others, it’s hard slogging.  I just thought it would be helpful to re-emphasize that the focus is not journaling or filling up large volumes of pages with our thoughts but instead simply spending time with God in the presence of his word listening, worshipping and loving him.  Whether the fruit of that encounter is a page full or one pregnant word will vary from person to person.  In the group I’m currently leading I jokingly pled with one person in our group who is a big journaler to tip her book away from the rest of us who might see her reams of notes and sink into depression because we can’t keep up.  Let’s encourage our group members to give journaling a try but ladle on a lot of grace for those who struggle.

Lift Them Up

Someone reminded us of the simple but fundamentally important practice of praying for our group members in the days between sessions.  Such prayer has greatly enhanced some of the groups, including mine.

Lift One Another Up

Taking time to pray for one another’s concerns at the end of the group meeting is important for putting a period to the session.  Christians intuitively sense that things are left hanging until they have been deposited with God in prayer.

Thanks so much.  I pray for you and your groups often.

Joel Warne