Chris Coursey is founder and president of THRIVEtoday. See more of Chris’ online features such as podcasts and guest blogs here.
My friend Amy Brown and I recently wrote a book called Brain Skills In The Bible. One of the goals of this resource is to utilize small groups as the “soil” where people can learn and practice crucial relational brain skills. Adding Relational Protein To Your Small Group Diet was my topic for an event hosted by Life Model Works, so these thoughts are on my mind at the moment. Let’s explore how some simple skills can elevate your small group.
Relational skills require interaction with people and with God. This “relational exchange” works best when we connect with people from different ages and stages of life, what the Life Model calls multigenerational community.  Small groups provide a consistent opportunity to increase our “relational skill repertoire” because we meet with people who possess shared values along with a common language and desire to grow.
While 19 relational brain skills are trained during the five-day THRIVE Training events,  some skills stand out as “capacity building” skills where we can deepen and strengthen our roots to withstand adversity and remain relational when life gets hard. A few of these brain-booster skills are, Skill 1 – relational joy, Skill 2 – rest and quieting, Skill 4 – create appreciation, Skill 7 – share brain-friendly stories and Skill 13 – see some of what God sees, the skill we refer to as Godsight, Heartsight or iSight. 
Insert these brain-booster skills into any small group gathering with ease. For example, participants can make an effort to convey some genuine “glad to be together” joy when people first arrive as well as throughout the meeting time. Group members can take turns sharing special moments from the week that brought a smile. After some interaction, the group can then take a few moments to quiet and be still. Have everyone scan their body to notice how rest feels and discuss this for several minutes. Next, spend some time telling God and each other some things for which you are grateful. Practice noticing Immanuel’s presence throughout the meeting time and testify what changed when you perceived God’s interactive presence. We can turn to Immanuel as group members share burdens.
Add these dishes to your small group menu, to best meet the needs and culture of a small group and watch what happens! These are a few skills to meet the needs and the lifestyle of a small group best. As we engage our relational brain with some purposeful exercises, we recharge our relational battery and feel refreshed.
 Read Joy Starts Here: The Transformation Zone for more.
 Learn more about the 19 skills in the book, Transforming Fellowship: 19 Brain Skills That Build Joyful Community.
 The authors of Joyful Journey: Listening to Immanuel came up with the term, iSight.