Last week I wrote a post about WHY I ATTEND A GROUP BIBLE STUDY and I would encourage you to check it out. Today, I want to share how you can start a group Bible Study. It’s real easy and yet I understand that it might bring about some fear on your part. You might be wondering; “Will anyone come?” or “Why would anyone come to my Bible study?” or even “No one would want to come to my Bible study.” or other types of thoughts that are negative and life sucking. Instead, let’s focus on what we can control; the actual nuts and bolt of the Bible study.
Now, if you want to start a Bible study, please be sure that this is noble work. You must take it seriously and remember the details. Today I’ll give you a few things to keep in mind and plan for as you launch your own Bible study. As always, if you want to talk about this in-depth, please shoot me an email or phone call. If you are a pastor at a church I would love to come in and help you organize your small group Bible studies. Okay, here are my tips for launching a Group Bible Study.
Four Tips for Launching a Group Bible Study
Tip 1: Determine the Purpose
As you prepare for your Bible study, it’s important to begin with the end in mind. What do you want to accomplish with the Bible study? You will want to answer this question first before you go any further. It will probably have something to do with addressing a need that you are aware of and it is typically a relational need (e.g. connecting moms around the Bible, Helping dads to be better fathers, a Teen Bible study, help for your marriage, a neighborhood evangelistic Bible study, etc…). Once you determine the purpose, get some feedback from the people who know you best. Ask them their thoughts about the possibility of launching it. You don’t have to have all the answers yet; but you at least have an understanding on what need you want to address with the Bible study. Also, this might be a bit obvious, but pray. Now you are probably at this very spot because of prayer and God communicating to your heart to start a Bible study. Keep on praying to God and asking Him to show you your next steps in the process.
Tip 2: Communicate and Build
Now that you have your end in mind, it’s time to communicate your desire to start a Bible study and recruit a team. Your team need not be big, but it helps to have a few others with you to share the vision. Build your team to your weakness. Recruit others who will help you be the best you can be for the success of the Bible study and give them permission to freely share with your blind-spots in a gracious way. The Bible study is not about you but about bringing life to those you want to impact. Having a team with you to help you be your best is imperative!
Tip 3: Location & Time
You have the end in mind and you have your team. Now it’s time to be strategic. Bring you team together and talk about location and time (and other details too). This is an important part of the launch phase. Think through the details of this phase so you can have maximum impact for your group. If your Bible study is for men who work, then Tuesday’s at 10am on the edge of town is not ideal. I co-lead a Bible study on Wednesday mornings, at 7am, in downtown TC at a local bakery. The group meets for one hour. This location and time has multiple benefits; first we meet at a central location, we meet early enough for us to have a meaningful time together (one hour) yet short enough that the guy can get to work on time. We meet at a bakery to save time in the morning; the guys are probably going out of their way to get there before work and the bakery is top-notch (there are some morning I wonder if I enjoy the baked bread more than the Bread of Life). The location has a warm, comfortable and roomy meeting area. It meets our needs as a group. So, think through this aspect of your Bible study and get feedback from your team on what will work best.
Tip 4: Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
- Prepare for your audience – who is the Bible study for? Each audience will require different teaching methods. Men respond differently than women; teens learn differently from adults; the needs of the 60 y/o are different from the 30 y/o. So prepare your study for the appropriate audience.
- Prepare to share truth – This is a two-fold preparation. You will need to prepare for the time in Bible (know you material) and you will need to prepare to share the truth of who you are personally and how God’s word is shaping you. Group Bible studies are powerful when the leader/presenter is able to share the truth of their own life (the good and bad parts). No one wants to go to a Bible study where the presenter has all the answers and comes across as being perfect – who can relate to that? – Instead, be humble and open and willing to share how you struggle in life as well.
- Prepare for discussion – Don’t make your Bible study a time for another sermon. People will check out. Instead, plan and prepare for discussion from the group. Prepare open ended questions for the group to answer that will rely on their own life experiences and knowledge. You never know what will be shared that will touch the life of someone else.
- Prepare for life growth – as you lead with excellence, you will experience growth in your Bible study. Read the body language of the group. I heard this quote today from Seth Godin; “Elephants are not good at hiding, so if you see the elephant in the room then so does everyone else; bring it up talk about it and the elephant will leave.” Life growth happens best when we are out of our comfort zone, yet we have the right amounts of grace and truth giving to us from others.
This is a great start to launch a Bible study. However, if you want more help with your Bible study please give me a call. If you are a pastor that would like to launch small groups in your church I would love to consult with you on this.