Revealed: How to make a small group be honest with each other

I love a deep conversation, me. Sitting in a car is usually my location of preference for a deep chat, but there’s one thing that all of them have in common - honesty. 

Honesty is to a meaningful relationship as petrol is to a car. It just won’t work otherwise! You might by this point be thinking about those people you are willing to be entirely honest with, but what about your small group? 

That might be a bit of a sticking point for some of us. There’s probably a degree of honesty we’re comfortable with in our small groups, but it won’t be the same as that to which we’d spill our hearts out to our closest friends. 

How can we encourage our small groups to be more honest with each other? 

One answer can be found in scripture. The Psalms, when you think about it, are mental. A series of authors who have poured themselves out in complete and total honesty to God, and then put it in the best-selling book of all time. 

Imagine that! The most pain-induced, angry, emotional messages you’ve ever sent, forever enshrined in a text that will be passed down through generations. Dunno about you, but I’d be bricking that. 

Thankfully, they won’t be. But we do have a great chance to tap into some of that Psalm-writer’s wisdom in our groups. 

In my student small group, we decided to have a go at writing some of our own Psalms, and see how that could make us more honest with each other. You can’t really fail to be honest in a Psalm. You’re pouring yourself out to God in words, and even if it’s a case of verbal diarrhea, it will be an authentic portrayal of someone’s relationship with the Father. 

Here’s one of the Psalms that a student in my small group came up with: 

 

God, I shout out to thank you. 

You are always with me. 

When I’m honouring you and when I’m not. 

 

Still you love me. 

In the morning you are there, the afternoon, still at night you stay with me. 

I could not escape you, even if I wanted to. 

Even in my loneliness you are there. 

You declare ‘I am with you’. 

When my door is closed to the outside and I am trapped, you continue to open doors to me. 

Reaching out and drawing me closer to you.  

 

It’s honest, isn’t it. 

Our group is different now. More open, more vulnerable, more willing to share things that we might not have before. I would heartily encourage you to give it a try. 

 

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Sam Brown

Student Mission Developer

Sam had his life transformed by stepping into a leadership role at his church in his final year of university. He is committed to helping churches raise up other student leaders to share the transformational power of Jesus Christ.

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