TIPS FOR LEADING A GROUP

Thanks for leading a group through If Money Talked. Personal finances are tricky to talk about publicly, so we hope these tips will help you successfully navigate your group's experience.

GENERAL TIPS

You don't have to have all the answers.

You may get questions you don't know the answers to. It's okay to say, "I don't know." You're not expected to be an expert in personal finances or theology. Your role in the group is not to teach; it's to facilitate great discussion.

Keep it confidential.

The questions in this study will not require group members to share specific details of their financial situations, but someone might share this information anyway. Before you begin, consider reminding your group members to honor one another by keeping what's said in your group confidential.

Don't always break the ice.

It's tempting to fill every pause in the group conversation with words.

{Insert long, awkward pause.}

Particularly with a topic as sensitive as money, uncomfortable silences are bound to happen. So let them! One of the most powerful tools you have as a leader is a long pause. It gives space for quieter people to break into the conversation. It allows people to figure out exactly what they would like to say. And it ensures that everyone has had the chance to express everything they were thinking. So, as uncomfortable as you may feel, don't always be the one to break the silence.

Be a good "bad example."

Just because you're the group leader, you don't have to agree with everything Andy says or have your finances in perfect shape. In fact, sharing your own mistakes and honest answers to the discussion questions will give everyone in your group permission to do the same. And that kind of authentic discussion will help your group get the most out of this study. So, if you notice people holding back or trying to be on their best behavior, try leading with some risky honesty.

SESSION 1

Andy introduces the Money Quiz at the end of the Session 1 video, so group members may be anxious to jump right in. But it's recommended that you talk through the discussion questions as a group first and save the quiz to complete individually before you gather for Session 2. Some people will feel sensitive about their quiz results, so it's best not to take the quiz in a group setting. 

Session 1 is primarily focused on assumptions about money. Try not to judge your group members' responses to the activity or the discussion questions. If group members seem judgmental of one another, redirect the conversation. The goal is not to correct anyone's assumptions but to instead allow everyone to process what has influenced their view of money.

SESSION 2

Hopefully, group members will have completed the Money Quiz before you gather for Session 2. Remember that some people may feel sensitive about their result. As you move through the rest of the study, try to avoid conversations that pressure anyone to publicly identify their quiz outcome. 

 

Session 2 encourages you to “spy on your money”—to track where it’s sent and spent. Doing so will help your group members get the most out of this study, so encourage them to follow through on this challenge. You might consider sending a midweek message with a nudge. And if your group includes couples, highlight Bridging the Gap: Tips for Couples on pages 36–37. This bonus reading is often the most helpful tool in the study for people that manage money together.

SESSION 3

Last session included the challenge to track your spending for the week. As your group begins this session, consider checking in to see how it went. This may create positive peer pressure for anyone who opted out of spying on their money, and perhaps they'll reconsider.

Session 3 introduces a new way to prioritize your spending—give first, save second, and live on the rest. Note that there are eight discussion questions for this session. If this is too many to get through in one gathering, feel free to focus on the questions you think will resonate most with your group or split the discussion over a couple of meetings. There are also two time-intensive exercises for group members to do on their own after this session. Ideally, everyone will make time to complete these exercises. You can encourage your group to do so and ask how it went when you gather next time. But don't be discouraged if group members opt out. They'll still get plenty out of this study even if they don't do this work on their own.

SESSION 4

Session 4 introduces a significant question that could dramatically alter how you mange your money: To what ends do you want your life to be a means? If any of your group members struggle to connect this question to their personal finances, spend extra time discussing question three, which asks for examples of people who have used their money in meaningful ways.

Since this is the final session of the study, there are no exercises to complete after your group gathering, but there is session readying that will help you turn your takeaway(s) into action. Consider using the last few minutes of discussion for group members to read these final pages of the book.

One more note: Even if your group is finished discussing money, some of your group members may not be. This study lays the theoretical groundwork for changing how you manage your money, but some of your group members may need more support to make practical changes—to get out of debt or stick to a spending plan, for example. Point them to ifmoneytalked.com/next or go a step further and connect them with a financial ministry at your church or in your community. Your encouragement could be what begins a life-changing financial turnaround for them.