No one speaking up?

How do you handle those awkward pauses as you lead a Bible study? Are you using them effectively?

Sometimes we assume that when a group is silent, it is also stagnant. However, that is not always the case. Silence can mean that students are reading, that they are thinking, or that they are struggling for the right word. But often we panic at those lapses in sound and fill in the empty space with more of our own words. A growing leader, however, will learn to discern different types of silence and respond accordingly.

When you lead your students in a study of a Bible passage, be comfortable with some silence after you ask a question. A quick reply is often a pat answer, so be glad when your students take the time to think before they speak. Unlike you, they haven’t prepared for the study or read the passage beforehand. They naturally need time to mull over the meaning before answering your question.

Remember, too, that the silence will seem longer to you than to your group. If silence takes over, perhaps your question wasn’t clear enough. Rephrase the question, adding more direction to guide your students toward discovery of the biblical truths.

At times students are silent because they aren’t sure they want to share answers that seem so personal. You can help break the ice by revealing how the passage is impacting your life.

Silence could also result from a too-obvious question. You must show that you respect your students’ intelligence. Asking “How many fish did they catch?” will do the opposite! Teenagers, and adults for that matter, resist answering an obvious question. Observation questions are key to studying a passage, but when you ask a lot of fact questions, call on specific students for answers and move along quickly.

When you pose an application question—“What does this passage mean for you?”—expect the biggest pause from your group. Questions that demand connections between the text and the world of a high-school student take some hard thinking. At times students are silent because they aren’t sure they want to share answers that seem so personal. You can help break the ice by revealing how the passage is impacting your life.

As you lead, try to identify the different kinds of silence. If it is confused silence, clarify your questions. If it is bored silence, ask challenging questions such as “why is this significant?” If it is thoughtful silence, resist the temptation to charge ahead with the answers.

What advice do you have for other youth leaders?

|

There are no comments yet. Be the first and leave a response!

Leave a Reply

Trackback URL http://sowhatstudies.org/no-one-speaking-up/trackback/