We all have different tolerance levels when it comes to silence. Some leaders are tempted to jump in and immediately answer their own questions. This isn’t a good idea, as it doesn’t do much for group dynamics! If you need to answer your own questions then you might as well be giving a lecture, not leading a small group discussion or Bible study.
As a general rule you can assume that the silence will seem longer to you than it will to others. People need thinking and processing time. Some need more than others. If the silence continues for an unbearable period, then you might want to ask the group if anyone understood your question. Perhaps your question was unclear, confusing, or too complicated. Maybe you’ve actually woven more than one question together and people are trying to unpack what you’ve asked. It might be helpful to rephrase your question, or ask if there is someone in the group who could repeat the question in their own words. Asking good questions is a skill to be mastered and we will pick up on this in other posts.