You’ve probably either said the phrase “You’re getting warmer” to someone, or you’ve been the recipient of it. It is used to indicate that a person is moving in the right direction. They are getting closer to achieving a goal. But let’s think of this phrase in another way. Could it be said of you and your relationship to your group members? Is your relationship with the people you lead in Bible study getting warmer over time? Or would your group say that although you can deliver a good Bible study, you’re actually a little cold towards them? Would they use words such as aloof, cold, or uncaring to describe you? Hopefully not!
On the eve of His crucifixion, Jesus spoke words of warmth toward the people who would ultimately take His life. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem! The city who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her. How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings…” (Matt. 23:37). In the moment that Judas betrayed Him, Jesus did not refuse his kiss of greeting and called him a “friend” (Matt. 26:49-50). Jesus also had warm words of acceptance for Peter after Peter had denied Him three times. “Feed my sheep,” Jesus told him on the shoreline. Warm words are much more welcome than cold ones.
3 Ways to Show Warmth in your Words
I don’t know about you, but if I had a choice (and I suppose I do), I’d much prefer to be in a group with a teacher who knew how to use his words to encourage, affirm, and edify. Groups are better when a leader sets a positive tone that fosters openness, freedom, and the potential to build meaningful relationships.
Here are 3 easy ways to make sure that your words are warm, not cold:
- Greet every member of your group – Although you may be busy setting up for your Bible study, don’t let anyone come into your meeting place without acknowledging their presence. Greet them enthusiastically. Greet them like friends you haven’t seen in a while. This is made possible when you arrive a little early and get things set up in order to focus on the people as they arrive.
- Affirm every member of your group – As people answer questions and respond to you during the Bible study, find something positive to say and thank them for their insight, responsiveness, and willingness to share personal stories with the group. A well-timed, authentic “You make a great point – thank you for sharing that insight!” can go a long way in encouraging a person to continue making contributions.
- Thank every member – Don’t feel like you have to thank every person every time you gather for Bible study – that would seem disingenuous! But over the course of time, offer encouragement through your words such as, “Thank you for being such a regular member of our group.” Or “Thank you for always asking such thought-provoking questions.” Find something positive in each person you can thank them for – and do it!