You might be surprised at how complicated a Bible study can become (both as a participant and as a leader). Or maybe you’ve witnessed what the potentially treacherous waters of going through scripture with a group of adults can be, as they all bring their own opinions and experiences. And some always want to dive deeper into a scripture than others.
What is the best approach to receive or teach a Bible study lesson in your small group? How can you make sure that everyone feels involved, appreciated, and gets value from participation?
We’re going to highlight some things adults tend (huge emphasis on tend) to do or not do that make the following pieces of generally known advice to be absolutely necessary to implement (and often be reaffirmed) in your group.
Make sure your group has an established purpose and expectations
So, what’s the first thing adults (us as well) tend to do? Assume that others have the same ideologies and expectations as they do. It’s important to take time to make sure that the group knows the purpose of the group. Is it to share ideas? Is it to teach newcomers? Establishing the group direction gives you and the group members an idea of how the group is meant to operate.
Confidentiality – establish, remind, keep
Bible study can get personal fast. It is absolutely crucial to make sure that people understand that any information shared in the group, must stay in the group. It seems almost silly to remind a group of adults to keep secrets, but there’s another thing us adults can tend to do: Gossip.
Someone can share something in confidence as a prayer request and the next minute someone in the group has passed it along to someone else as a prayer request… and not intending to be harmful, but sometimes, it can turn out to be.
Enable respectful disagreement with the lesson
As adults, whether we’d like to admit it or not, we may tend to be relatively firm in our beliefs about the Bible. To facilitate a discussion around a Bible study lesson can be a bit daunting knowing that people usually already have a stance on most subject matters.
If you lead your group, consistently remind the group that it’s okay to disagree, but it must be in kindness and unattached from someone’s character. (Need some more support in this area? Check out our eBook about navigating conflict in a small group).
Alright, stuff happens. We get sick, our kids get sick, a car breaks down, the list goes on and on. That “adulting” thing.
But there’s this thing that tends to happen amongst attenders. We may tend to not feel like going after a long day at work or with the kids.
There’s no denying: staying faithful, when there’s no real excuse to not to, is HARD. Despite that, it’s worth it. Groups with consistent attendance form better relationships, establish more trust, and learn a lot more. Why? Simply because people showed up.
As a leader you can stay connected to your members and check in with them during the week, seeing if they plan on coming if they missed the week before. Offering kind reassurances will go a long way. Support each other in this aspect.
We are so serious about this one! This might be the most important point of all. Sometimes we tend to forget that God is the creator of fun. We may tend to think small group has to be intense and somber the whole time. Enjoy your small group. Laugh together. Do fun activities together. It is immensely important and can really knit a group together. It’s true that faith developments happens in the midst of joy.
We’ll leave you with this final bit:
“Do not be grieved, for the JOY of the Lord is your strength.” – Nehemiah 8:10b
Bible study serves as a great way to help adults learn the “why” behind their Christian practices. See how New Hope Lutheran Church helped adults participate in a successful Bible study to do just that. Read more here.