By Matt Coppess

Remember your favorite college course? Remember how you used to love to listen to the professor blabber on and on for up to an hour? Remember how you just love to hear lectures over and over again? Wait, almost no one enjoys lectures, and even fewer can do it well. Our favorite courses were probably very interactive with a professor who enjoyed allowing students to express their own ideas and opinions. I would even go so far to say the professors we respected the most were the ones who listened as well as taught.

Our students are no different; each week’s discussion could be the highlight of their week. Whether at school, home, or even church, how often do adults ask them what they really think or allow them to ask any question they desire? We need to maximize this opportunity each week to LISTEN to students because not only do we “win the right to be heard” ourselves, we show students respect and love by genuinely caring about what they think and feel. It builds credibility for the Gospel as we simply follow Christ’s example in how we care for teens.

Now given this reality, a good discussion might be the hardest piece of a Campus Life club to pull off. Leading a discussion means a staff person must be able to:

  • think on his/her feet
  • maintain crowd control
  • avoid voicing his/her opinion (no matter how misguided a student’s statement may be)
  • stop dominating personalities from taking over the conversation even if they are expressing biblical Truth.
  • avoid “rabbit trails,” keeping students on topic
  • be mature enough to handle tough questions, inappropriate comments and his/her own sense of humor

Now that I write it down I am not sure I am qualified to write this blog as I have failed in each of those areas at some point. Recognize the challenges Discussions present and the gifts and talents your staff team possess. Use your staff team wisely and train them well and recognize who has the gifts to make discussion a “can’t miss” part of club each week. It is a huge step in providing a safe place for students to communicate “their story.”

For training aids check out the links to materials and videos below.

A Deeper Look at CL Club Discussions

Online Training on CL Club Discussion

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