Tips for Leading a Faith Sharing Group1. Share in a circle.
That same gathering technique we learned in kindergarten is still the best way to foster group participation. The circle shape keeps everyone on an equal plain, including the leader. With no one sitting in a place of higher power, there is less cause for intimidation or fear. Participants can also see one another clearly while sitting in a circle, which makes interaction open and easier.
2. Identify the purpose for faith sharing.
Make sure the goal of the conversation is clear before the group starts sharing. What is it you want them to share and why? Help keep them on track, but more importantly, make sure the teens understand why their feelings and experiences are valid and important.
3. Listen and question rather than lecture.
Although teens are looking for a leader to steer their faith sharing experience, they probably don’t want to hear you giving instruction all the time either. If you interact comfortably with them, it makes it easier for them to interact comfortably with one another. When teens stall or aren’t asking a critical question, the leader should join the conversation to restart it or give it new direction.
4. Insist only one person speak at a time.
In a faith-sharing circle all listen and learn from one another. Teens take turns talking and show respect for each other by listening. Be sure to schedule enough faith sharing time so that everyone feels they have an opportunity. Also, encourage participants to focus as much on being interested as being interesting. Ask teens to really listen to one another instead of planning out what they are going to say next.
adapted from Faith Sharing with Teens by Joan Mitchell, CSJ