Practices such as noticing, praying, listening, asking questions, loving and welcoming equip you to begin having meaningful conversations about God with others who believe differently. However, as Q Place President Mary Schaller writes in The 9 Arts of Spiritual Conversations, “without intentionality to create an ongoing opportunity, your conversations may be hit or miss…When safe, meaningful conversations get started, the most natural next step is to keep them going by gathering a group of spiritually curious people who are interested in learning more about God and what they believe.” (p.223)
In his book, Seeker Small Groups, Gary Poole, answers a resounding YES to the question: “Is the Bible necessary in a spiritual discussion?”
Your seeker small group discussions eventually need to focus on the truths of the Bible. The significant impact the Bible can make in the lives of your group members is unmistakable. As you already know, …“the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). Without positioning and utilizing God’s word as an objective standard of truth within your group, no lasting life-change in your participants can occur.
The last thing you would want to do is reduce your group to some kind of non-directive, self-help gathering without providing a solid foundation of biblical truth. That would miss the point entirely – and offer little help in the long run. Rather, an effective seeker group is designed to be a place where intellectual questions are addressed with concrete answers based on the absolute truths of the Bible. Russ Korth agrees: “If you allow the group to go on and on, sharing only their opinions, you will be fostering frustration. People cannot base their lives on the ‘authority’ of an opinion. People need the truth of the Word of God.” (Russ Korth with Ron Wormser Jr., Lively Discussions, San Bernadino, CA: Churches Alive, 1988, 59).
…Group members, of course, may not be willing to accept the Bible as reliable and credible right away, and they may adhere to completely different belief systems based on a wide variety of “truth sources.” But the idea behind a seeker group is to create a safe environment for seekers to honestly share their viewpoints and carefully compare them with what the Bible teaches. The genius of the seeker group strategy is that, over time, most participants become remarkably open and receptive to fully examining the Scriptures – after they have been given an opportunity to fully disclose what they believe and why.
Author of Seeker Small Groups
This excerpt is used with permission