At first this was going to be something I would have shared with our Unashamed Impact City teams, current and newly emerging. But I thought, hey, why not share with everyone. Maybe you’re a college student wanting to start a small group bible study at your school or a regular gathering with your friends/family/co-workers or maybe you’ve just had it in your heart to help take others deeper into their walk and launching a Bible Study has been on your heart for sometime. When I moved to Texas and started Unashamed Impact Dallas I was determined to grow deeper in my walk with some of the young adults in my city. We began “Friday Night Connects” which turned into weekly Bible studies, fellowships and outreaches that soon took off beyond my control. It got to the point my house couldn’t hold any more people and friends were bringing new friends almost every week! Nevertheless we became lifetime friends. More than that, we became a family and played a pivotal role in each other’s lives. We got to literally SEE the growth and leadership in one another and it completely enriched our lives. I wanted to take the time to briefly draw out some ideas for YOU on ways to start your own Small Group Bible Study:
- Pick a date!
First things first. When do you want to kick this thing off? And be realistic about the appropriate timing because once you start you want to be consistent. Once you’ve picked the day make it consistent, whether that be every Friday Night like I did or simply once a month (exp: Every 2nd Friday of the month), stick to it!
- Pick a place!
Some ideas may include your home, a meeting room at your local library or recreational center or an opportunity at a local church. Just make sure to secure your space!
- Promote it!
Create a flyer, make an event on Facebook so people can invite others (be sure to keep it alive), share it with friends, peers and family, text everyone you know and be sure to encourage everyone to invite somebody!
- Make the first meeting a launch gathering!
Use the first time you meet time to get to know one another. I’m a big kid consumed by youth ministry so ice breaker games flow through my veins and they loosen everyone up a bit! Find some light games to play, bring food and play some music. Let everyone know the vision and purpose of these Bible studies and that they’ll officially begin the next time you meet! Offer the opportunity for others to help out as well. Make sure to grab a pen and paper to pass around and get ideas of relevant topics, themes etc everyone would like to dig into over the course of the following gatherings (maybe even some outreach ideas to do together). Pray together. Get everyone’s contact info for further notice.
- Outline your upcoming bible studies!
Pick a theme/topic for each month based on the group interests you’ve collected so you know you’re addressing everyone needs. Exp: August- The Fruits of the Spirit, September- The Book of John, etc and break it down into a weekly lesson.
- Have a layout for your time.
I personally wouldn’t schedule for a Bible study for more than 2 hours nor any later than 7pm and allow a little flexibility for things to change as His Spirit leads. It may look something like:
7:00 Food & Fellowship (ice breaker game),
8:00 Q&A/ open discussion,
8:45 Closing prayer
The reading may look like popcorn reading through the scriptures. The message could very well be a video sermon from another teacher or taking turns giving a brief lesson depending on the spiritual maturity of some of your members. I usually like to take 3 thought-provoking questions from the message such as, “What does it mean to live by the Spirit?” or “What are some of the pressures we face today against ‘the god of this world’” and giving everyone the opportunity to discuss.
- Be Consistent
Rule of thumb, if you don’t take it serious no one else will. Follow through whether 100 people come or 1 person comes. You might even find the smaller the group, the more time you have to go deeper.
Over time it would be good to start delegating either someone from the group to bring light snacks and rotate or have everyone bring something collectively each time. If possible, try and get the support of someone to stay in contact with everyone. Let someone else lead from time to time. Don’t stress yourself out trying to be everything to everyone when you may have willing help around you. Just ask.
- Fellowship and grow together.
Don’t forget you guys are a family. Celebrate each other’s birthdays, visit each other’s churches, and support one another! Do some volunteering as a group. And be ready to grow together.
Hey, you. You can do it! Sometimes the biggest step is the first step; the step that says I’m just going to do it! And if you have any other ideas or thought this was helpful, comment below and let me know! Let’s encourage one another.