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Hosting Bible study can be fun. It allows you to get involved with other people and discuss parts of the Bible through their perspectives and thoughts.
Last week, I began this two-part post. I introduced you to how to prepare to host a Bible study. Naturally, I told you that this post, part 2, would be available later last week.
Without further ado, let’s get started with inviting people and actually hosting Bible study.
Creating an Invitation List
Having an invitation list ensures that the right people are invited to Bible study.
Identifying Potential Participants
Think about the people in your network. These can be people from church or other community areas in which you are involved. Consider those people you think would be interested or who have expressed an interest in Bible study previously.
Balancing the Group Dynamics
Your Bible study group should be balanced and diverse. People from different ages, Bible knowledge levels, backgrounds, and education levels should be included, if possible. The diversity of the group can help make the discussions even better and give everyone involved more varied perspectives.
Making the Invitations
The invitations should be warm, inviting (obviously), and personalized.
Writing a Warm, Personalized Message
Open the invitation with a friendly greeting and a short introduction of the reason and benefits of the Bible study you are hosting. Show your excitement and express what the participants will gain from the experience.
Explain the Benefits of Joining
Everyone is extremely busy now. You need to provide some benefits for joining the Bible study. For example, participants will have spiritual growth, a deeper understanding of the Bible, and a new community of friends and believers from whom they can gain strength for the Christian journey.
Utilizing Communication Channels
Send invitations to people through several different communication channels. This will give you maximum reach for getting in touch with participants.
Sending Invitations via Email or Messaging Apps
Email: Write an email invitation and include all the details, like date, time, place, and topic. Each email should be personalized to the recipient; don’t send out a bulk email to everyone you are inviting. A personalized email will help the person feel welcomed into the Bible study. If this is your first time hosting Bible study, you want to make a good impression in the invitation.
Messaging Apps: Are you already in a group where you can send messages to people? If so, use the app you are in, like WhatsApp or Slack, to invite people and let them know you are hosting Bible study.
Using Social Media
Use social media, like Facebook and Instagram, to reach a broader audience and build interest in the Bible study.
Facebook Events: In my family, we use Facebook events for everything. We invite people from all over the nation (literally) to things, just so they don’t feel left out. Most of the time, we know that they won’t be able to come, but they know about what is going on in our area.
When you are hosting Bible study, create a Facebook event for it. Invite your friends and family, and allow them to be able to invite people as well. Sometimes you can share events in groups. If you are in a Facebook group that allows you to share events, share yours if you want to.
So that you know who is coming, request RSVPs.
Instagram Stories: Instagram Stories are a great place to get attention when hosting Bible study. You can create stories on your own, or you can use Canva and find a template to use. Either way, be sure that the graphics are eye-catching, engaging, and appealing. Have a call to action that encourages people to join the Bible study.
Follow-Up and Reminders
To make sure I don’t forget, I have to write down invitations that are more than a day or two away on my hand, clip them to the refrigerator, and put them in my calendar.
Sometimes, I still forget.
When you are hosting Bible study, you can’t send one invitation and think that everyone will respond YEA or NAY from that.
Follow up with the people you invited. Send our reminders (maybe in a different way than you sent the invitation).
A few days before the Bible study, send a reminder to all the participants. Let them know how excited you are to be hosting Bible study and that they are coming. In the reminder, you can give any new details about the event.
Some of the reminders will go to people you invited but who haven’t RSVPed yet. Try to get an answer, YES or NO, from them so you can confirm the number of people attending.
Leading the Bible Study
Open with Prayer and Introductions
Set a Prayerful Atmosphere
One goal of Bible study is growing closer to God; a great way to do this is through prayer. At the beginning of the Bible study session, say a prayer and ask for God’s wisdom, guidance, and presence in the meeting. This will encourage a reverent tone for the Bible study and, hopefully, open everyone’s hearts to hearing what God wants to say through His Word.
Go around the room and have each person introduce him/herself. Inquire about each person’s name, a little bit about them, and their intentions for the Bible study.
Set Clear Study Guidelines
Ground Rules for Discussion
Clear ground rules are required for respectful conversations and discussions. Explain why others should be actively listening when someone is speaking. Create a safe place for people to express their perspectives and opinions.
Expectations for Participation
From the beginning, you should tell the group why it’s important to participate in the discussions. Encourage everyone to be prepared by reading the scripture before arriving and, possibly, completing study materials ahead of time.
Let the group know that you want them to be able to have open discussions throughout the meeting and that questions and contributions are encouraged.
Facilitate Group Discussions while Hosting Bible Study
Ask Thought-Provoking Questions
Hosting Bible study means that you are in charge of getting the discussion started. Before the meeting begins, you should prepare for this by having some questions or thoughts already written out.
Ask thought-provoking questions about the topic or scripture. Allow the participants time to think before answering the questions. Remind them that the discussion will be more enriching when more people are involved.
Encourage Active Participation
As you are hosting Bible study, invite everyone to participate. Try to make the environment comfortable so that each person feels safe sharing his/her thoughts throughout the meeting.
Incorporate Interactive Activities
No one likes to sit at a table and study for a long period of time. In order to help the group to learn and engage more, incorporate activities into the meeting.
Icebreakers and Group Exercises
Use icebreakers at the beginning of the meeting to ease the tension of being in a room with new people.
Group exercises are great for separating the participants up a little to be able to discuss topics. After they have discussed in pairs or small groups, they can return to the whole group for more discussion on the topic.
Use interactive, hands-on activities, like role-playing, to help participants apply the biblical principles the group is studying to their lives. This can help the topic to stick with each person a little bit longer.
Guiding Scripture Interpretation
Provide Context and Historical Background
Remember those extra materials you gathered to prepare for hosting Bible study? This is where you are going to use them.
Before studying the scripture with the group, give them the historical, cultural, and literary context of the passage. This will help them to understand more as you study the scripture.
Encourage Different Perspectives
I’ve already said this a couple of times. Make this meeting a safe place where everyone feels comfortable sharing his/her opinions or perspectives. Make sure that the discussion stays respectful even if participants disagree with one another. When people share various viewpoints, it allows for the discussion to be richer and deeper.
Nurturing Spiritual Growth while Hosting Bible Study
Encourage Personal Reflection
Have time set aside for individual study and reflection. This promotes personal growth and spiritual development.
Individual Study and Reflection
During the Bible study meeting, allow participants to have personal study and reflection. This will help each person to go deeper into the scriptures, write out his/her thoughts in a journal, or explore how the study applies to his/her life.
Journaling and Note-Taking
I love scrapbooking and Bible journaling. I made a video about some of my supplies that I currently use. You can have some supplies sitting around the room so participants can take notes or Bible journals during the meeting.
Journaling in a notebook helps people to reflect on what is being studied, record personal thoughts, and take notes. Then the person can look back on it later during his/her personal study time.
Foster Authentic Relationships
Supportive and Encouraging Environment
The atmosphere of the meeting should be loving, supportive, and accepting. This will encourage relationships among the participants because they will express compassion and empathy, and they will listen actively.
At the beginning of the meeting, let everyone know that you would like for them to find an accountability partner. They will remind one another to pray, read their Bibles, and prepare for the next Bible study meeting. The partners will also pray for one another and support each other through tough times in their faith journeys.
Provide Practical Application
Connect Biblical Teachings to Daily Life
Give the participants ways to connect the biblical information from the study to their everyday lives. Begin a discussion about how the scriptures can be applied to relationships, careers, decisions, and other parts of life.
Encourage Action Steps
Each person should write down 1-2 ways that he/she can apply the lesson to his/her life. As a group, think about goals, changes, and actions they can take. Allow them to share these with the group if they feel comfortable. At the minimum, each person should share these action steps with his/her accountability partner.
Prayer and Worship
Incorporate Worship Songs and Hymns
Find a few worship songs and/or hymns that you can use in the Bible study. Have them ready to play on YouTube or Spotify. Choose songs that connect with the topic or the scripture for the meeting. Incorporating music will build a spirit of praise, worship, and reflection.
Pray for Personal and Group Needs
Pray together as a group and individually. You can plan for this time at the beginning of the meeting or at the end. Ask participants to share prayer requests, and then ask everyone to pray for one another’s needs.
Continuing the Journey
Evaluating and Adjusting
Seek Feedback from Participants
To check the effectiveness of the Bible study, ask for feedback on a regular basis. As you get the information, make adjustments. Ask each person to give open and honest feedback; you can do it anonymously so the participants may share more.
Make Changes for Improvement
Once you have feedback from the group, make changes to the format, activities, location, topic, or anything else that you can feasibly improve.
Plan for Future Study Topics
Since you are hosting Bible study, you need to keep up with what will be studied in future meetings. It will keep the group moving forward. If the participants know what will be studied next, you will have more engaged discussions. When planning the topics, think about the interests, demographics, and preferences of the group. Also, consider the group’s goals when choosing themes and subjects to study.
Consider Outreach and Community Service
As you are studying the Bible and growing spiritually, ask the participants if they would like to have an impact beyond the group. Offer opportunities for the group to serve the community and be a positive influence to others.
Support Individual Growth
Recommend Personal Study Resources
Each person in the group is on a different path in his/her faith journey. Offer each person recommendations for things to use in their personal study time. These can be books, devotionals, courses, podcasts, or videos. Give him/her an idea of things that he/she can use to continue growing spiritually.
Offer Additional Spiritual Guidance
If you feel comfortable doing so, you could lend your services to the group for guidance and assistance. The participants would just need a way to reach you for confidential discussions, questions, and mentoring. If this isn’t something you feel comfortable doing, see if someone else in the group can, or offer community suggestions, like pastors.
Reflect on the Journey
Hosting Bible study is a journey. Pause and reflect on how hosting Bible study has changed you. Write about the spiritual growth you have experienced along the way. Journal about the new connections you have made in the group. Be sure to celebrate any changes that have happened in your life.
Celebrate the Impact of Bible Study
When hosting Bible study, you will be able to see how it impacts the lives of others. Be sure to celebrate how the participants have changed through the sessions. Each person can tell or write about how his/her faith was strengthened, relationship with God was improved, and the study caused positive changes in his/her life.
Encourage Others to Host and Continue Growing Together
Hosting Bible study is a blessing. After you have been the host for a while, you can encourage others in the group to take a turn hosting or starting their own groups.
Tell the group the benefits and rewards that hosting Bible study has provided for you. You have been able to grow personally, explore spiritually, and build a community. Remind the group of how important it is that you stay together and continue to grow in faith and understanding of God’s Word.
If you follow the steps in this post (and the one from last week), you will be ready to begin hosting Bible study. You can have everything set up for a meaningful experience with your group.
Bible study is not only gaining knowledge of God’s Word; it is also growing spiritually, creating new relationships, and putting biblical principles to work in your life. I hope that your journey to hosting Bible study is full of love, peace, joy, and a lasting impact on those around you.