The Forward Faith website is designed so that it can be easily used by small discussion groups.
The lyrics to the songs and the background information for each song are intended to present ideas that groups can ponder and discuss. To facilitate group discussion, there is a set of group discussion questions located at the bottom of most pages.
An example of a possible structure for group discussion is provided below:
The page for each song has a player that can be used to play the song, and a tab that will open to display the lyrics for the song. One way to begin a group discussion is to play the song while group members read the lyrics.
The page for each song provides background information describing the ideas behind the song. This information is usually divided into short blocks. Group members can take turns reading each block of information out loud while others follow along. If the group likes spontaneous discussion, it could pause after each block to discuss their reactions to the material up to that point.
At the bottom of each page, after the background information, there is a drop-down tab labeled “Discussion Questions.” Click on this tab and it will open a list of questions for the group to discuss.
Several songs have references or allusions to the Christian Bible. These songs have a drop-down tab labeled “Biblical Allusions.” If the group wants to discuss issues related to the Bible, click on this tab. It will provide a box with information on the Biblical references in the song as well as additional questions for the group to discuss about those references.
- A music lead sheet is also provided for every song. If the group includes members who are musically inclined, they can use a lead sheet to learn the song and then either perform it for the group or lead the entire group in singing it.
The discussion questions for each song are written to facilitate dialog. They are not intended to be questions that have “yes” or “no” answers, not intended to have obvious answers, and not intended to lead people down a particular path to make them agree with a point of view. To answer the questions in the discussion section, people may often need some time to formulate their ideas. They may want to reread the lyrics or reread some of the background information. Thus, my recommendation is to avoid rushing the discussion. Depending on the group, there may be periods of silence. Often, if a group is allowed to be silent for a while, people begin to share insightful ideas. My recommendation is also to avoid being overly tied to the set of discussion questions. From my point of view, it would be a good thing if a group never gets to the end of a set of questions because they started talking about something and it produced a lively engaging discussion that strayed away from the original set of questions.
In general, my hope is that people will talk about their reactions to the songs and the ideas presented on this website. This includes talking about ways they may agree or disagree with the ideas, sharing thoughts on how to build on the ideas or modify them, and discussing areas where the songs may touch on issues that are important or meaningful.