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Helpful Hints For Leading Your Own Bible Study Group
Leading your own bible study group can be a rewarding experience as long as you have some basic hints to get you started and to help you along the way. The main role of the Bible study leader is simply to get everyone in the group involved by asking questions and encouraging people to respond. Bible study leaders actually lead more than they teach. A good leader draws everyone in and everyone out. The following hints can help you be a more effective leader.
Before the Study:
Make sure everyone has his or her own study materials.
Work through each question in the study and the leader’s notes yourself.
Pray for each person in the group.
Pray for yourself and ask God to give you wisdom and the ability to apply the study to your own life.
During the Study:
Always begin on time. This reinforces the value of honoring each other’s time.
Encourage participation by designing your study to be discussion oriented rather than lectures.
Avoid answering the questions yourself. Rephrase the questions until they are clearly understood as needed.
Try to avoid letting the same person respond to question after question.
Affirm the worth of any response and never reject answers outright.
Show respect for the schedules of your group members by ending on time.
Throughout the duration of your bible study it is a good idea to take a break from time to time and do either relational or social activities together. Being together in an unstructured or fun environment is a necessary part of the discipleship process. Jesus shared much of his life with his disciples by working together and traveling together as well as talking to them.
All small groups go through phases at various points. By knowing ahead of time the stage a group will go through you will be able to lead your group most effectively. The first stage is the Honeymoon Stage. During this time the group members are excited and motivated with a confidence that great things will develop out of the group. Stage two is the Disillusionment Stage. This can also be called the reality stage where the group members realize that growth is a challenge and can be frustrating. At this point leaders tend to think they are no longer qualified to lead a bible study. Continue to be diligent in your leadership and your group will continue to respect you and look up to you. Stage three in this process is the Growth Stage. At this stage the group begins to connect as a unit and individual members are strengthening their values and gifts. This is a good time to set new goals and challenges for the future in an effort to keep your bible study members stretched. The fourth and final stage is the Culmination Stage. As the bible study comes to an end, each member will start to reflect on what has been accomplished. Because friendships have been established many groups will want to continue to meet together for bible studies or social interaction. If it is necessary to end your bible study group understand that there will be the pain of separation but this is also a good time to encourage one of your members to take the reigns as the leader. It is a great joy for a leader to see his or her pupils go on to lead others.
An effective bible study leader is one who walks with God, lives the word of God, contributes to the work of God and impacts the world for God. While striving to be this kind of leader yourself it is also a good idea to pray for each of your bible study members to acquire and develop these marks of maturity as well.