By Emma Danzey, Crosswalk.com
Maybe you have been thrown into the position of leadership, or perhaps your dream of starting a Bible study has come true. Today I want to break down some helpful tips on how to lead a great Bible study. These are purely based on my experiences of either things that others did that I loved, or things that I chose to do when facilitating that worked well. We are always growing and learning, so feel free to share your idea and thoughts on what has gone well for you.
1. Prayer Partners
This might seem like an interesting point to start with, but prayer is so significant to any ministry. Whenever I end a study, I provide time for what I call “prayer partners” for the week. What this does is it breeds community and vulnerability that may not be found in the larger group.
I have women or girls break off into twos and get to know the person they are paired with for the week. The two write down each other’s prayer requests for the week on notecards or in their phones and agree to pray for one another throughout the week. They also pray right then over each other’s needs.
The goal is that every week, you are to find a new partner at the end of class until you have met with each person. This is special because it encourages getting to know new friends and welcomes in those who might be visiting for the first time. It also helps prevent cliques, because we can tend to always gravitate towards those who we already know and have relationships with in the study. Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
2. Know Your Audience
If you have a specific group you are ministering to, it is important to keep in mind their specific needs. For instance, if the group is stay-at-home moms, a morning or daytime study would be helpful while the kids are in school. If you are leading college students, an evening study after dinner is smart.
On top of that, what capacity can your group handle? If your gathering is with retirees, you might want to do the more in-depth Bible Study because they have time. If you have a group of young adults who are very busy, you might want to study deeper in person, but have little or no book work during the week.
I have learned that people will come for the fellowship and the study, but I never want the outside study time to be a barrier for community. However, if you are doing book work, it is important to allow those who have completed the work to share what they have learned. 1 Corinthians 9:22-23 says, “To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings."
3. Share the Truth in Love
As a leader, it is your responsibility to God to be called to a higher standard. We are accountable for what we teach in a Bible study. This means that when we come across a difficult passage of the Bible, we need to share the truth in love. We should not skip over passages because they are controversial or hard for us to explain. We should rely on the Holy Spirit to open our understanding and look to well respected Bible scholars for their interpretations.
People need to hear what that Word of God says. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” This verse does not say some of Scripture, it says all of Scripture. We need to uphold and recognize that the Bible it perfect and from God Himself. Even if we cannot comprehend one of His teachings, we need to surrender our pride and actively study what He means. We need to be authentic in our Bible study groups to seek out the truth of Scripture together, and learn with one another.
Leading a Bible study is a great privilege and honor. When we invite others to join in learning and growing in the truth of the love of Christ, we bring them on the journey of increasing in the knowledge of God and becoming more confident in our personal relationships with Him. Whether you are new to leadership or facilitating, never be afraid to ask for help or seek out resources. There is so much access that we have today that the disciples of Jesus did not have back in their time. If you are feeling inadequate, I encourage you to look at all of the different unexpected people in the Bible whom the Lord used to fulfill His purposes. When you say yes to God, He will do the rest. All you need to do is pray, seek His Word, and show up.
Remember as a teacher, you are called to a higher standard. James 3:1 says, "Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” It is significant that we take these callings seriously and we ask God for strength against the attacks from the enemy. As leaders, we are the examples to those who learn under us and with us. May we remember to be humble servants and glorifiers of Jesus alone.
As you look towards creative ways to study Scripture and meet as groups, look to God for help. Try out encouraging prayer partners in your lessons, know your audience as you make plans, and share the truth of the Bible in love. A good leader is a good follower. May we follow Jesus whole-heartedly and point others to Him.
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Emma Danzey’s mission in life is to inspire young women to embrace the extraordinary. One of her greatest joys is to journey with the Lord in His Scriptures. Emma is a North Carolina resident and green tea enthusiast! She is married to her husband Drew and they serve international college students. She enjoys singing, dancing, trying new recipes, and watching home makeover shows. During her ministry career, Emma recorded two worship EP albums, founded and led Polished Conference Ministries, ran the Refined Magazine, and served in music education for early childhood. Currently, she is in the editing stages of her first two writing projects: a Bible study on womanhood and a non-fiction book on singleness. You can visit her blog at emmadanzey.wordpress.com