How to start a small group bible study

How to start a small group bible study
Photo by Hannah Busing / Unsplash

What makes a good church small group? One where members are comfortable enough to open up with one another. This intimacy and transparency foster deeper relationships and discussions.

Three benefits of a small group  

  • Small groups foster closer relationships with church members
  • Small groups provide a comfortable introduction for nonbelievers to the Christian faith
  • Small groups provide an ideal way to care for the needs of people within the church

Getting started

The most important part of any bible study is to be in God's word. But that does not mean you have to debate biblical issues that have yet to be resolved on this side of heaven.  

  1. Don't overthink it: A bible study can be as simple as reading the scriptures and discussing what stood out.
  2. Start small: Two or three people can have a great bible study.
  3. Don't get too big: The best small groups fit around a table.

Another important element is fellowship. Fellowship builds unity. The church is called to be united. Unity is having everything in common and being of the same mind. Paul wrote in Ephesians 4, saying, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

Evening Small Group Format

The below format can be adapted to fit any time of day. And while nothing is perfect, it does help lay out a basic plan. But you can add your own spin based on the dynamics of your group.

  • 6:00 PM - Fellowship: when people first arrive, take time to gree one another
  • 6:30 PM - Food: try to give at least 30-45 minutes to eat and talk
  • 7:00 PM - Time in the word: Often, we incorporate coffee and dessert into this section.
  • 7:45 PM - Time in prayer: take time to go around the table and pray for one another.

Communicating with the group

It's a good idea to set up a form of communication with your small group members. The core reason for doing this is for continued fellowship and bi-directional communication between the group members.  

This allows for the development of deeper relationships within the group and allows for the small group to help serve each other's needs when they arrive.  

Serving one another

One of the biggest blessings of being a part of a small group is serving one another. There is no better way to love your neighbor than through small group.

Your group will find ample opportunities to help each other practically, from picking up a child, preparing a meal for a sick member, or even driving someone to the airport.  

Doing and receiving those acts of selfless service will further strengthen your bond with one another. And after those moments, you will often find the conversations around the table growing deeper and more meaningful as people open up.  

Final thoughts

Starting a small group bible study can be an enriching experience. You will be amazed at how God works in your heart and the heart of the group as you read the bible and form deeper relationships.  And while it may be difficult, it's worth the effort.

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