I just put together a quick video and small group discussion sheet for youth group tonight. Here it is for download in case any of your groups can benefit from it:
TIPS FOR THE DISCUSSION LEADER
Listen more than you talk: The most beautiful thing you can do for a grieving teenager is to be a good listener. They may need to share the same stories over and over again. Provide a safe place for them to do that. Effective listening requires that helpful advice remains unspoken until the student wants input and is ready for advice. Preaching about God’s sovereignty or reminding teenagers that “things happen for the best” is not recommended and may perceived as insensitive.
Don’t place judgment on the students’ feelings: Some will be very angry, some will be depressed and others may be seemingly indifferent. Don’t offer counseling or make judgments on their emotions – just listen to them and encourage them to speak their heart. The purpose here is not to fix or correct their feelings, it’s just to listen. Their emotions are not wrong, they just are.
Don’t be afraid of silence: Don’t feel a need to fill in moments of silence with your own interpretations or as a queue to quickly move on to the next question. This is often the time when students are processing their thoughts or trying to figure out how to verbalize their emotions. Give them time to think and break the silence when they’re ready to do so. Only move on to the next question when you feel the current one has been exhausted.
[tags]Virginia Tech, small groups[/tags]
Posted on April 18, 2007