Are you a young mom looking for a support system among Christian women? Are you an older man hoping to find camaraderie with other Christian retirees? No matter who you are or where you are in life, getting involved in a Bible study is a great way to connect with like-minded individuals and strengthen your own walk with Christ.
But what do you do if there isn’t a Bible study group for you to join? Well, you could start one yourself. Yes, that sounds daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. We have a few tips to help you get your feet wet and navigate the waters.
In fact, let’s look at starting a Bible study in terms of water. Immerse yourself in the process (see what we did there?).
Getting Your Feet Wet
First, consider the culture of your church and your community to gauge what groups of people aren’t being served; look at them as various types of water and cast a wide net.
- Puddle: Are there small pockets of people in your church who have little connection to others? Single moms? College students? Young married couples?
- Pond: Do you know people whose connections aren’t deep but could be with better interactions? New families from out-of-state? Military families?
- Lake: Are there other groups that are sizable yet are stagnant?
Once you’ve determined where your new group’s members may be in your church or community, it’s time to jump into the deep end. Your next step is to reach out to the groups you want to approach. You’ll want to come alongside your existing Sunday School groups since this new group will be one of the smaller fish in the bigger pond.
Every new group needs leaders. This one isn’t an exception. Whether you think of leaders as diving coaches, cruise directors, or ship captains, they will all need training and a clear understanding of this new group and your expectations of them. Consider writing a job description with detailed notes. You want leaders to know what they’re wading into, so don’t water down the description. Provide training in multiple ways:
- Saturday morning breakfast event
- Weekend retreat
- Special Wednesday night classes over a few weeks
- Other times that work for everyone and have a fun, built-in component
Testing the Waters
Now that you’ve identified your group(s) and trained your leaders, you need to get all your ducks in a row — or at least gather them in the same pond. Depending on the size of your church, meeting space might be difficult to find.
- Is there an unused classroom?
- Is there a room that’s being used for something else that could be converted to a classroom?
- Do you have room in your home to accommodate the group?
- Can you meet at church in a designated classroom but at a time during the week other than Sunday or Wednesday?
It may be helpful to know that adults need 12-15 square feet each to feel comfortable, so if your new group included 10 people, you can count on needing 120-150 square feet of meeting space at a minimum. If you promise the group that their experience will be like sailing on a yacht, make sure that you don’t rent a slip for a pontoon at the marina. Give them the space they need.
It’s time to make a big splash. You’ve identified a potential group of people, trained leaders, and found meeting space. Let others at church know about the group on the church’s website, social media platforms, or simply in the weekly bulletin. As others seek to join, welcome them.
Still think you don’t have what it takes to start a new Bible study group? That concern should be water under the bridge by now, but feel free to visit this blog again soon for more tips.