Top Ten Tips For Facilitating Bible Study
What if I am not a gifted teacher?
From time to time, we are asked questions regarding specific “how-tos” as it relates to leading a neighbor Bible study. When it comes to facilitating groups, we all want to be effective leaders. Below we have compiled various aspects of leadership to consider. Whether you have been a leader for many years or you're just beginning, take time to go through the list and be prayerful as you step out in faith.
Leading Your Group
Effective leaders do not serve as teachers or lecturers. Instead, they should see themselves as facilitators who guide their group, encouraging people to interact with each other. This is good news. Not all of us are gifted as teachers, but most anyone can promote effective discussion by following these guidelines:
1. Prepare your heart before the study: Pray for God to help you understand the study material and apply its teachings to your own heart and life.
2. Pray for the members: Pray for each member every week by name, asking the Holy Spirit to use the Bible and study materials to speak into their lives.
3. Begin and end the study on time: Let your group know that you value their time and will begin and end the study on schedule.
4. Explain the importance of group discussion: As members share their answers and insights, God’s Word becomes real and practical. They learn from each other and can encourage one another to grow in knowledge and understanding. Try to affirm answers when possible. People will respond to questions more easily when they know they are heard, and their insights are appreciated.
5. Don’t be afraid of silence: When you ask a question and the response is slow, sometimes people may need more time to think before they share. The silence usually seems longer to you than to others.
6. Resist answering the question yourself: Let everyone have a chance to respond to a question. After others answer, you may share your own thoughts if you like, but be careful not to dominate the exchange.
7. Never reject an answer: If you reject an answer, even if it is wrong, people may not risk giving their opinion again. To make sure responses reflect the truth of the Bible, you may ask, “Which verse led you to that conclusion?” Or let the group help bring the comment in line with Scripture by asking them what they think about the question.
8. Avoid tangents that take you off topic: If people wander off course, gently bring them back to the passage and question being studied.
9. Guide the pace of the study: Most studies are designed to be completed in one session, rather than just ending and completing a lesson at the next meeting. This gives your group a sense of completion and closure, especially for members who may miss the next session. It is best to try and complete the lesson, even if you need to skip some sections to focus on key questions.
10. Consider handing out and reading this Mission and Values document to set a healthy tone for your neighbor Bible study.
Do you lead a Bible study in your neighborhood or home? What have you found helpful? What is your favorite thing about leading a Bible study?