I am honored to lead the Resources Division at LifeWay and serve with a team of leaders who are passionate to serve the Church in Her mission of making disciples. Each Wednesday, I share the heart behind one of the resources our team has developed and give an opportunity for you to win free copies of your own. This week’s resource is Explore the Bible small group studies.
At LifeWay, we create resources for group Bible study because we believe that part of an effective disciple-making process is moving people into biblical community, commonly expressed in small groups. The biblical word for fellowship is koinonia, and it carries the connotation of partnership and participation. God desires that His people participate with one another, not merely associate with one another. Groups are essential. A church that only emphasizes the worship service may attract people and simultaneously fail to connect them with others.
Groups are essential to the life of a church, but they can sometimes lose their momentum. How can leaders bring a struggling small group back to life? Here are three thoughts:
1. Serve together.
A group that works really hard on “building friendships” never realizes the depth of community that a group that serves together does. A group that looks outside themselves to needs in their city unites around mission. I am paraphrasing my friend Kevin Peck who has said, “If you aim for community, you get neither mission nor community. If you aim for mission, you get both.” Help your group find a mission project, a school to adopt, or a tangible way to serve the city together.
2. Lead in transparency.
Spiritual maturation is about progression, not pretending we have arrived at perfection. Group leaders who pretend they are perfect automatically shut down transparency and vulnerability. If group leaders want people to share their struggles, they must share their own struggles. If group leaders want people to be vulnerable and ask for prayer from the group, they must set the example for vulnerability.
3. Start with the text.
There are different valid approaches to group Bible study. Often a small group will begin by looking at what the Bible says about real life, practical issues people are facing. A group may form to discuss what the Bible says about marriage, parenting, finances, or temptation. These studies start with a real issue, and if they are solid, move people to God’s Word. If we are not feeding small groups the Word, we are leading sick or malnourished groups. It is the Truth of God that sanctifies His people.
Over time, many people in groups long to start their studies with the text. They long to walk through the Bible and let the Word dwell in them richly. This is the heart behind Explore the Bible. Each study helps people study the text in its context, and obey the text in their context. Explore the Bible simply walks groups of all ages through books of the Bible. For more information on Explore the Bible, click here.
Today’s give-away is a bundle of Explore the Bible for a small group (8 copies of Explore the Bible‘s 6-week study on Hebrews chapters 1–7 and 8 copies of the 6-week study on Hebrews chapters 8–13). I am giving away three of these bundles. Register to win here or with the form below before 12:01am CST Thursday, November 5, 2015.