This is a short guide on how to helpfully lead a theological discussion with students in yourTheology Network group.
First off, it is really important that the topic of conversation is something that will be helpful for the group. Here are a few things to consider...
There is absolutely nothing wrong with discussing every aspect of theology - as group leader you are not the theology police! But think carefully about what message your chosen topic would send and how the group might respond. Be aware that certain topics can be personal or painful too.
This is a really key part of your preparation which you will need to do beforehand - alongside prayer! Good questions will set the tone and pace of a discussion, likewise poorly prepared questions might leave you with little to discuss. A few tips on what makes good questions...
Your job in leading the discussion is not to preach a mini-sermon, that is hardly a discussion! By all means prepare well, do your research if needed, and have an aim in the back of your mind, but be careful that you don't end up saying too much. It's easy to think you need to have all the answers, but remember that the group will probably have lots to say.
During the discussion remember to love the people in the group and try to keep everyone included and up to speed - but also be aware that some people love to talk, and others like to listen. Your job is to set the pace; move on when things get too off topic, slow things down when people give simplistic answers. Be aware of how everyone is feeling about what is being discussed - stop to explain things if people get lost, clarify things when people get confused, and challenge people who are trying to be controversial for the sake of it!
 Enmity and factions are sinful according to Gal 5:20!
Josh Oldfield was a Theology Network Relay Intern (2014-15) and a former Theology Network leader at Cardiff University.
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