If you love God, have a willing heart, and desire to share His love with others - then you are qualified to begin a Bible study group.
Your neighbors include people: on your street, in your apartment or condo complex, in your village or small community, in your place of work, school, club, or other relational network. A neighbor is whomever God brings into your life whether at home, work, or through other connections. Pray and follow the Spirit’s lead in adapting NBS2GO to your circle of neighbors. Where is He calling you to begin?
In a word, “No” In fact, leading a Bible study group that produces life-change in all participants needs discussion not lecture. View yourself as a facilitator. While there are places and purposes for teaching/lecturing (one-way communication), your Bible study group is not one of them. As you lead, practice guiding good discussions and asking open-ended questions.
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline" 2 Timothy 1:7 NLT.
Rest in these truths. Pray for God to give you courage and strength. He has placed you right where you are and among those He wants you to serve. He has given you experiences, gifts, and talents for such a time as this. Be brave. You Can Lead!
You do not need to have all the answers and you never will have them, for that matter. Humbly admitting that you do not know the answer is a wonderful lesson and example for your group. You can acknowledge that it is a great question and if time permits, open it up to the group. Encourage Scripture-supported answers. You may suggest that the member seek an answer to the question and share the finding with the group the next week.
This has happened to some of us who are now leading thriving studies. Don’t view these situations as closed doors. It is important to ask yourself several questions. “Was it a bad time of day? Was it a busy time for most people?” You may also want to ask yourself, “Do I have relationships with my neighbors? How can I meet more people? How can I build trust or show love?” You may want to spend more time trying to initiate relationships and PRAY. Then, try again.
You should reach out to those whose attendance is irregular, falling off, or has stopped. Some people may need just a little individual encouragement. Some may be struggling with issues they have been reluctant to share. Some may simply need extra love and care. There are many reasons members stop coming or are infrequent in their attendance. You may never know the reason until you take the time to pursue that person and ask. Most of us are reluctant to do this. We fear being perceived as a pest or a busy-body. Jesus teaches us plainly that we are to go after the one who is lost. So, we must try. It may require texts, a phone call, a visit, or a lunch. Each situation is different. But the goal is simply to convey genuine Christian love and concern. A statement as simple as “I have missed seeing you in our Bible study group.” or “Is everything OK?” may be all that is needed. A note of encouragement would be nice. What you want to avoid is any sense of judgment, legalism, or harassment. If the individual is not open to talking to you after you have tried, you must leave them in God’s hands. Of course, any approach should be bathed in prayer.
Pray and pursue finding a sitter. (Ideas: homeschooler, Bible Study members rotate in caring for the children, or inquire at churches, with neighbors, and friends.) We highly suggest childcare be provided in another home, apartment, condo, or flat in your neighborhood other than your Bible study group location.
The best size is the one God gives you. Really, there is no right or optimal size. God will lead the right people at the right time to your study. You must do your part - pray, connect, lead - and leave the rest, including the size of your study to Him. Some of us have groups with 40 members, others have five people. As your group grows, it will be beneficial to divide into small groups of five to 10, to facilitate greater participation and sharing.
Remember that you have invited your neighbors to a Bible study session not a prayer group. (Among the five of us writing this material we handle prayer requests with five different methods.) The one thing we would recommend is handling prayer at the end of your Bible study time. Whether you share requests aloud, in a journal, on cards, or not at all, remember prayer should not be the focus of discussion time. Click the link below to read more.
Regularly remind your group of the ABCDs of Discussion.
A = Audible (Be loud enough for all to hear.)
B = Brief (Share statements not stories.)
C = Christ and Content-centered (Stay focused.)
D = Discuss without Division (Don’t talk about politics, denominations, or controversial issues.)
This will help keep the Bible study session on track and off tangents or unwanted topics. If the conversation veers, you can say, “Let’s get back to (what the Bible says, the Bible study, our lesson) and if you would like to talk after the study, please see me.” Then the focus will be on God and His Word - using the Bible as your guide.
With so many amazing resources and studies available to most of us, choosing materials can be overwhelming. If you would rather skip the process for now and are ready to just begin - consider starting with the LIGHT 2GO Bible Study.
If you would like to see the other studies we offer and recommend, please see our Bible studies search tool. Making a few decisions about the type of study and format you wish to follow can be very helpful in narrowing your choices. Feel free to choose any of these materials for your next study. They are tried and true.