At Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts, I volunteer in a number of Bible study and music-based worship programs for teens. Starting a Bible study group might seem like a lot of work, but in reality all it takes is a willingness to learn and a bit of advanced planning.
Regardless of your goals, starting a Bible study group is a good way to deepen your faith, build ties with your local Christian community, and of course learn more about the Bible. You might choose to start a Bible study because no such group exists in your area or because other groups’ meeting times aren’t convenient. Alternatively, you might launch a new group in order to address specific themes. All of these make for good reasons, as long as you’re reading the Bible!
Tip 1: Start Small
You don’t need a dozen people to hold a successful Bible study session. You don’t even need half a dozen. In essence, the only requirement involves you and one other person, though it can help to have three or four people to build momentum. Discuss with individuals that have similar interests and a desire to deepen their faith. Once your sessions get going and build some “buzz” within the community, other people will join spontaneously.
Tip 2: Establish Realistic Goals and a Schedule
Many Christians think starting a Bible study is a good idea, but people’s schedules quickly fill up. In order to keep your group going beyond the initial enthusiasm, you need some goals. These should be realistic so that your group doesn’t get discouraged, but they should also provide a bit of a challenge. For example, your group might decide to study the Gospel of Luke. A realistic goal might be for each member to read a chapter per week and to come to the Bible study with a question about that chapter. Assigning light homework will increase people’s commitment to your sessions.
Proper scheduling also helps to make your Bible study a success. Just because everyone is free Friday nights doesn’t mean you’ll have good sessions then; people might be too tired from the work or school week. If you’re starting a group for teens, you might want to schedule sessions right after school so the teens are still focused. Or for young mothers, a morning session combined with a play date might work best.