We don’t know who needs to hear this, but if you’re leading a Bible study group this fall, you’re doing a great job.
God didn’t call us to perfection (thank goodness!). He only asks us to be willing to go where He leads and lean on Him in all the moments where we feel overscheduled and underprepared.
If you need a little help this season, we’re here for you. We asked 3 veteran small group leaders for the advice they’d give their younger selves when they were just starting out:
- Focus on the people in your group. Make friends, exchange texts. People will remember how you made them feel in your group.
- Be consistent. Consistency in meeting time and place, in the way you start or end with prayer requests, and more creates a safe and familiar environment for people. For example, set an expectation at the beginning of the year. When it comes to sharing prayer requests, everyone in the group has to share something. Whether it be a praise or a request, everyone’s voice is heard and you hear about what is going on in people’s lives from week to week.
- Prioritize Bible reading in your own time with the Lord. Reading through your Bible chronologically (for a study on this, pick up Angie Smith’s Seamless) gives you context and knowledge that helps as you lead and facilitate others.
- It’s OK if you don’t know all the answers. Be honest, do your research, and follow up when you’ve learned more.
- Your life and how you live it is the lesson your group will remember. You don’t have to know everything or be the most dynamic leader ever, but your life needs to live out what you teach.
- Loving others to demonstrate Christ’s love outweighs knowledge about Christ every time.
- Remind women that a little bit of time in God’s Word is better than no time in God’s Word. A little bit of Bible study is better than no Bible study. It is better to have something to nourish your soul and relationship with Jesus instead of no effort put into spiritual growth. Your soul care needs to be priority before you can pour into anyone else.
- Relax, take deep breaths—it’s going to be OK. Just be faithful to who God created you and called you to be.
- Be a good listener and don’t be afraid of silence. There’s a person in the room that is waiting for some space to express what they are feeling and learning in the group.
- Sit among your group if you can. It levels the playing field for discussion and participation.
- Take time to learn how to skillfully manage the person who will monopolize the discussion or steer it off course. It’s called a Bible study “group” because each person is important.
- Smile. This seems obvious, but for the serious teacher type, it’s a good reminder that your group remembers not only what you said but what you looked like when you said it. Put it on if you have to until it feels more comfortable and natural.
- Pray for unconditional love for the women in your ministry/group. And that they will feel it. Many don’t have even one other relationship that is characterized by this. Why wouldn’t God answer that prayer?
What leadership advice would you give your younger self?