Every small group has a different DNA made up of interests, needs, desires, passions, and perspectives. Selecting a curriculum is not as easy as slipping on a one-size-fits-all t-shirt. In fact, choosing a Bible study can be the most difficult part when launching any small group.
Here are 5 steps to take when it comes to selecting a Bible study curriculum for your small group or Bible study:
1. Commit the decision to prayer. Ask God to give you direction and courage as a leader. Lean into the sacred echoes He whispers. What is he teaching you recently? Is there a specific theme you've heard again and again? Remember, God has so much to teach you as you lead, too.
2. Don't feel like you need to make the decision on your own as the "leader." Connect with other small group leaders or pastors at your church. What types of curriculum have they used and loved? Does your church have a library of curriculum you can rent?
3. Talk to potential and committed participants. Do they tend to be spiritual seekers, veteran believers, or a combination of both? What are their goals for the time together? What do they hope to get out of a study? For those who have done studies before, what characteristics of previous studies did they like and dislike?
4. After you develop a general idea of what the group desires, focus on more of the specifics. How many weeks will the group meet together? Does the group prefer a DVD-based curriculum or book-based curriculum? Do participants want a study with or without homework? How much? Are there budget concerns?
Here's a quick checklist of things to consider:
- Topic-based versus Scripture-driven
- DVD-based versus book-driven
- Number of weeks to meet (including one for service or purely social)
- Time available for each meeting
- Homework options (yes/no and how much)
5. Search online for free samples of DVD Bible studies—including PDF's of participant's guides and video lessons—before making a purchase. Share the links with key members of the group and then receive their feedback before making a decision. The more your group takes ownership in the study you choose, the more likely they'll be to engage, enjoy, and invite others along.
Can I extend a simple thank you to you?
Thank you for stepping out in faith to lead. Thank you for sacrificing time, funds, your home, and your heart to pouring into those in your community. Thank you for praying for, loving on, and reaching out to others. Thank you for leading or co-leading or dreaming-of-leading a small group, Bible study, or book club.
Trust that no matter what curriculum you choose, God is going to do big things in and through your small group. God will reveal himself in new ways, wow you with his wonder, and astound you with his love.
Our team would love to be praying for you as you launch into the spring as a Bible study leader or participant. Go ahead and leave a prayer request in the comments below so we can lift up and pray for one another.
If you are interested in looking into a Margaret Feinberg DVD study for your spring study, including Wonderstruck 7-Session DVD Bible Study or Scouting the Divine 6-Session DVD Bible Study, we'd love to give you access to the online DVD Sampler.
What is your biggest concern when selecting a Bible study for your small group?
**Original photo found here