There are five key elements that should happen during any small group meeting. These elements are summed up in the acrostic TASTE:
- The purpose of the TEACHING element is for the leader to guide the group through one main point the leader has learned from the selected portion of Scripture and to facilitate group discussion. This main point may be a practical spiritual lesson, a story line or even a theological concept.
- The purpose of APPLICATION is to help group members identify personally with the main point. Without personal application, the study never goes beyond the dissemination of facts and information.
- The purpose of SHARING is to allow others to share what they learned by reading the selected portion of Scripture.
- The purpose of TOUCH is to allow members to share how God "spoke" to them personally from the portion of Scripture. This is different from sharing a fact about the text, and it is different from making application (although it is close to the latter).
- The purpose of "EXTRAS" is to allow the leader to share or bring to light other observations from the text, usually the result of the leader's study and research. It's a subtle way of encouraging the group to look deeper into Scripture in the course of their reading.