I am an awful, horrible organizer of real life people (kinda funny I used to be a WEDDING PLANNER) but somehow I found myself setting up a Bible study a few years back. I didn’t know what I was doing but for some reason I did it anyway -- apparently I don’t mind looking foolish -- and I learned a few things about how to start a Bible study for women.
Most of us want the connection that a small group or Bible study can bring but we’re afraid to take the leap. We’re afraid to ask people. We’re afraid to devote time to something that might not be worth it. We’re afraid to be seen as the expert or leader. All valid concerns but here is something I want you to know. EVERY single person in that group voiced how much they needed something like that group.
We can have such a craving for community and it can go unfulfilled…until someone invites them in. Today friend, I want to show you how to do that in an easy way. Today friend, you aren’t the one that’s going to wait for an invitation that may unfortunately never come. Today, you are the invitation.
Personally, I have felt so much conviction about how I give so much of my best self to people through a screen. Ahem…most of you. It’s not that I don’t want to serve y’all well but I realized how little I was investing in people IRL (in real life). This is hard for me.
It’s easy for me to dig into a to-do list, blog posts and products instead of seeing how spending time chatting can possibly be more “productive.” Those are harsh words but this “doer” struggles with the relationship aspect of life. So really, this post is just as much for me as it is for anyone else.
Here are some practical steps to getting your group off the ground!
1. Assemble Your Bible Study Group
-- Lockdown a core group. No, I don’t mean an insider club that can make the rest feel crappy. Get a few friends committed before you open it up so that you have a solid foundation of people you know will show up. There is nothing more difficult than hosting an uncommitted group. This group could also serve as a welcoming committee so that if there are new people that don’t know anyone, they can make them feel…welcome.
-- Share on social media or at church about your plans for a group and open it up to other people. This is where the magic happens. And by magic, I mean God’s best plan. He knows way better than we do who should be a part of the group so I love not limiting it just to people we choose.
2. Hash Out Logistics
-- Set a time, place, and structure and be committed. You can even create an FB group to stay connected and use the poll tool to figure out the best date and time that works for everyone.
-- Try not to cancel a session. We’ve led lots of small groups in the past and the moment we have to cancel one, it becomes easier and easier for everyone to bail or wonder if it’s still on. Consistency will help everyone stay committed.
3. Make Sure You Are Intentional
-- Have each member come prepared to share something specific. It may be a favorite quote from the chapter, a Scripture verse that stood out to you or how you are going to apply this to your life. It doesn’t have to be a monologue, but a thriving group is one where everyone participates and no one dominates.
-- Keep things moving along but also make room for the Holy Spirit. Kind of in line with the point above, the leader may need to steer the conversation when a personal story turns to gossip or a yes or no question results in a 15 minute vent session and get things back on track. BUT also, stay sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading if y’all do need to detour from the plan if God has something more impactful planned Himself.
-- Pray intentionally for and with your group. I believe prayer and action are what produces change in our life. The book will help you to act on truth but let’s not forget the prayer aspect.
-- I recommend books for every chapter and topic. If members of the group own resources mentioned or really anything that goes with the chapter that they have found useful, encourage them to bring them for others to look at.
-- Practice hospitality both physically and spiritually by creating an environment that encourages vulnerability so that true change can be experienced. Forget about making sure everyone knows how vacuumed your rug looks or fancy your dishes are, just make them feel special by focusing on them.