Safe Environment & Confidentiality - We will strive to create an environment where everyone can be real, open, and honest with their struggles and victories. Keeping things that are shared in the group confidential builds trust and shows value to the person. Confidentiality can prevent gossip that only values the story; Jesus always valued the person above their story or their sin.
Listen, Don’t Rescue & Don’t Fix - When someone is sharing something deeply personal and/or painful, there can be a tendency to try to make them feel better about themselves or the situation. Often this will cause people to stop sharing and results in their not going as deep as they might have gone. Resist the temptation to rescue people.
We are not here to fix each other. Jesus does that part. Try to listen for understanding, not for response or what you are going to say next. If someone wants your advice, they will ask for it.
No Crosstalk, Pause & Silence - Be considerate of others as they are sharing. Don’t have side conversations. Trust is built in the moments when everyone feels like they are being listened to and heard by the entire group. Allow a pause in conversation after someone shares. Give the person sharing the chance to finish and the group the opportunity to consider what was just shared before responding. Treat others in the group as you would want to be treated.
Use Humor Responsibly - Fun is an essential part of Small Groups; however, when meeting in the Biblical Storytelling time keep sarcastic comments, jokes, and laughter to a minimum to allow for an atmosphere of authenticity and vulnerability.
Be Self-Aware - Be self-aware of how you are personally effecting the environment through your words, actions and non-verbal communication.
Use “I” Statements - It’s easy to talk about the issues of others, but for our purposes, we want you to put yourself on the table. Try to use “I” statements rather than “them”, “the church”, “us”, “we”, etc.
Give Everyone a Chance to Share - Be sensitive to the amount of time you share. Encourage everyone to participate in group discussions.
Resolve Conflict - We will commit to resolve conflict biblically. When conflict or sin issues between group members arise, we want to make sure that we are honoring God and each other in the way we deal with these issues. The following are a few key Scriptures in this regard (there are many others). If someone sins against you: Mat 18:15-20. Restoring someone in sin: Gal 6:1-5. Forgive a sinner: Col 3:12-13. Reconciling differences: Mat 5:23-24, Mat 7:1-5.