In a lot of ways, the most important aspect of a Workshop is the time in Small Groups. We have dedicated the largest portion of our time together to this very thing. And as such, it is extremely important that each person arrives prepared for these sessions. The time together will be most productive, the discussion most helpful, and the critique most clear, if each person is prepared well.

How are the Small Groups structured? What do they do?
You will be assigned to a Small Group in advance of the Workshop. There will be approximately 6-9 people in your Small Group, as well as a trained Small Group Leader and possibly an Apprentice Leader. Each person will have been assigned two passages to present. You will have about 5 minutes to present on each passage (separately). The assignments are generally sent out a few weeks in advance as to give you time to prepare. There will typically be a total of eight passages at the men's Workshops and six at the women's Workshops. This means, ideally, that more than one person will have been assigned to present on each passage. These passages will be chosen to help illustrate the Principles of Exposition (our basic principles which will be taught in the plenary sessions) and/or to fit with the particular theme of a Workshop.

What happens during a Small Group session?
During the first Small Group session, the leader will pray for the group, make introductions, and reiterate the plan for the Small Group times. The Small Group Leader will then move the group to the first passage and the individuals who have been assigned those passages will present. One of them will be appointed to present first. For each presenter, a first responder will be assigned. The first responder is meant to listen carefully to the presentation and ask the first question to get the discussion going. After both presenters have presented on the text, and after the first of the first responders have asked their question, the discussion will be opened up to the whole group. The second of the first responders will be brought in and the discussion reoriented to the second presentation by the Small Group Leader in due course.

Who are the Small Group Leaders and Apprentice Leaders?
Each group will have a Small Group Leader assigned and possibly an Apprentice Leader. Typically, these are individuals who have participated in several Workshops and who have been through a somewhat rigorous training process directed by the Charles Simeon Trust. They are chosen in conjunction with the host church.

This is probably the most important question you can ask before arriving at the Workshop. As a participant, you actually have two assignments:

1. Specifically prepare both of your two passages. The goal of your preparation is for you to make a 5-minute presentation on what you would teach from the passage. Specifically, walk us through the preparation worksheet on each passage, explaining how you have thought through each of the questions. Please also bring copies of your preparation worksheet for everyone in your group. Of course, some of the terminology on the worksheet might be unfamiliar. We have prepared a guide to help you work through the worksheet (see Small Group Preparation Guide below). Do your own work in the text using the worksheet first, only going to commentaries and other secondary sources much later in the process, if at all.

2. Second, you should generally prepare all of the passages (even those you have not been specifically assigned). You can check the Workshop page on this website a few weeks in advance to download a current schedule with the full list of small group passages (if available). Email us if the information is not available on the website. Try to read each passage. Look at the structure and context. Try to formulate a sense of the main idea in the passage. The better each person is prepared on each text, the better the feedback and discussion will be for the whole group.

Small Group Worksheet (men) DOCX [104kb] PDF [141kb]
Small Group Worksheet (women) DOCX [101kb] PDF [141kb]
Small Group Preparation Guide ONLINE PDF [159kb]
Resources (recommended secondary reading) ONLINE PDF [3.8mb]