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How to Lead a Bible Study

mens-bible-studyThis week as I’ve been training students on campus how to lead a small group Bible study, I’ve been reminded at how little training small group leaders often get before they lead a Bible study. With effective training, small groups will be more likely to grow, keep leaders, and develop disciples who spiritually multiply. So today I thought I’d share some of the basic training I give to small group leaders before I have them lead:

HOW TO LEAD A SMALL GROUP

I. THE PURPOSE OF A SMALL GROUP

The small group is not just a meeting but is a tool to help us accomplish the dual focus of the Great Commission.

A. To build spiritual multipliers (2 Tim. 2:2).

The Great Commission includes the task of teaching people to observe all that Christ commanded.

B. To reach your target area/audience (Matt. 28:18-20).

The Great Commission also includes the command to make disciples of all nations.

II. THE ROLE OF THE GROUP LEADER

What is the role of a small group leader?

1. A Planner
2. A Community Builder
3. A Trainer
4. A Discussion Leader

III. UNDERSTANDING AND UTILIZING THE ELEMENTS OF THE SMALL GROUP

What should every small group meeting include, and why?

A. Vision (5-10 min)
-One thing that’s often neglected in small groups is communicating an increasing sense of God’s purpose for the world and how we fit into the picture. Somehow it’s easy for a small group to disintegrate into only Bible study. Content is NOT the only ingredient for growth. Knowing how God can use us in His plan is probably the most important ingredient. Vision should be an element of every small group meeting, or people will either lose the vision and stop coming or they won’t grow and develop into leaders who multiply. This is why many local churches cease to grow – because they lose the vision for reaching the community and the world.

Suggestions on how to build vision:
-Highlight sections from a visionary book or magazine (ex. The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren).
-Discuss a passage in the Bible related to one of these topics: evangelism, faith, prayer, worship, discipleship, compassion for the lost, Acts 2:42-47.

B. Training (20 minutes)
-Another element for small group is training. Share practical, helpful, specific things about how to live and minister to others. This is how you “entrust to reliable men” (2 Tim. 2:2) the things you’ve been taught. Examples include: how to have a quiet time, how to study the Bible, using 4 Laws or other evangelism tool, testimonies, following up new believers, apologetics, leading small group, discerning God’s will, etc.

C. Prayer (10 minutes)
-Prayer is an expression of our dependence on God. You’ll help people see their need to depend upon Him. Most small groups have time set aside for prayer, but often it’s a quick sharing of requests for the week. Creativity is the element most needed in prayer. See www.crupressgreeen.com for more ideas on prayer (click on the “prayer icon on the left-hand side of the page on that site).

D. Bible Study (30 minutes)
-You could study a book of the Bible or choose a study guide or other material that helps you systematically study a book of the Bible. For example, this fall we are using One Story, a book with passages throughout the Bible that show how the Bible has one main storyline – God’s redemption plan for the world. Planning ahead of time is important.

E. Fellowship (time will vary)
-Students will be committed to the community group when they start to connect with others and build relationships.

F. Planning (5 minutes)
-Fit the announcements, delegation, planning activities, and other business stuff of the meeting in this category.

IV. PITFALLS TO LEADING AN EFFECTIVE SMALL GROUP–DANGERS OF OMITTING THE ELEMENTS DISCUSSED IN THIS MESSAGE

A. Losing sight of your objective:

B. Lack of ministry together:

C. Lack of prayer for your people:

D. Little personal involvement with individual members:

E. Becoming content-oriented:

F. Poor discussion time due to:

1. Poor preparation.
2. Dominating leadership.
3. Ineffective questions.
4. Little or no application.
5. Always doing the same thing in the same way.

A handout from this training above as well as other training materials can be found in the “Mentoring” section of this website.

photo credit: SMBC graduates serve as cross-cultural missionaries and ‘tent makers’ in locations around the world via photopin (license)


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About Chad Young

Chad Young works in full-time college ministry, serving as Cru Global’s national director over the southeast region, leading the ministries in FL, GA, AL, and MS. He has served on the staff of Cru for fifteen years. He is the author of Authenticity: Real Faith in a Phony, Superficial World (InterVarsity Press), a discipleship-training manual, and magazine articles for Worldwide Challenge and The Collegiate. He frequently speaks at retreats and conferences and regularly writes devotionals for his website, findingauthenticchristianity.com. Chad, with his wife Elizabeth, travels the country to speak at churches and train church leaders how to make Biblical disciples. Chad currently resides in Atlanta, GA, with his wife Elizabeth and their four young children, Wyatt, Clark, Evelyn, and Josilynn. His hobbies include cheering on his kids in sports, following college football, and laughing with family around the backyard fire pit.
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