How to Lead a “Joyful Walk Bible Study”

Melanie Newton

How to lead a "Joyful Walk Bible Study" for a group. Check it out at melanienewton.com. Okay, so you’ve decided on the Joyful Walk Bible Study you want to use for your group. You are all excited about it. You have either downloaded the study from my website, had it printed and bound, or you have ordered the printed copies (for about the same cost as doing it yourself). You’ve scheduled a start date. Everyone has their books, and they are working on Lesson One at home. Then you think, “How do I lead the discussion when we get together?”

I can help you with that. ♥

First, look at how the lesson is arranged.

Some Joyful Walk Bible Studies have Bible verses and background information up front. Some are divided up by days (Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Day Four). All have a mixture of observation (What does it say?), interpretation (What does it mean?), and application (How do I apply this?) questions scattered throughout the lesson. The application questions are easily identified by a focus phrase after the question # (example, Your Joy Journey in the study Knowing Jesus…Knowing Joy!)

Second, consider how long your group gets to meet together.

√  If you have a couple of hours, you can easily cover the whole lesson with time for creative discussion of the application questions.

√  If you only have an hour, you will have to choose which questions you want to discuss as a group. Don’t just pick just the application questions, though. You will want to make sure the women are understanding the truth revealed in the Bible before they try to apply it in their lives.

√  Either case, always read the main Bible passage(s) for the lesson. Otherwise, you are spending your group time on man’s word rather than God’s revealed word and your response to it.

Third, consider the setting where your group meets.

Are you in a cramped space? Will you have tables? Could a smaller group of 2-4 women discuss certain questions together by just turning their chairs together? Make sure that everyone can see you and, if possible, see each other.

Fourth, ask Jesus to help you make a plan.

As you open yourself to the Holy Spirit’s leading, what you learn in your own personal study time will be valuable to your group as you lead them through the discussion. God will show you what the overall focus of your group discussion time should be, especially as you get to know the women better.

Here’s what I do for a 1 ½ – 2-hour session where the women did their lesson ahead of time:

√  Pray then ask someone to read the Bible verse at the top of the lesson if there is one.

√  Ask if there are any comments about the background information at the beginning of the lesson, if applicable.

√  Ask someone to read the Bible passage for the lesson or for each section of the lesson as you get to it. I highlight in my study which Bible verses I want to read as a group.

√  Work through the questions by reading the question and letting the group respond. Let them share what they’ve discovered. Try to keep the discussion moving along and not get bogged down on any one issue. See The 5 C’s of Small Group Leadership (chapter 4) for suggestions on how to do this.

√  Ask if anyone did the Deeper Discoveries question and give opportunity to share what they discovered. I don’t spend a lot of time on this, though. And, only if it is relevant to the discussion that follows.

√  See if the application question would be good for breaking up into smaller groups of 2-4 to discuss together. I call this “Table Talk.” This gives opportunity for shyer women to participate if they don’t like to speak up in a larger group. It also helps the women to get to know each other personally. Sometimes I ask if anyone would like to share their response with the whole group.

√  If the application is very personal, I don’t use it for “Table Talk” but ask if anyone would like to share their response with the group. Sometimes I skip that altogether. Just depends on the question.

√  As I work through the lesson on my own, I might see that a couple of questions could be combined together or that one could be skipped because the answer is obvious / might have been covered already in discussion.

√  Pray for Jesus to apply what “we’ve learned in our lesson.”

√  If there is an application essay included after the lesson, you could discuss that as well.

 

What if you only have an hour or less?

Encourage the women to get their lessons done ahead of time. If this is difficult, you could divide each lesson into two parts and cover at two group meetings.

√  Pray then ask someone to read the Bible verse at the top of the lesson if there is one.

√  Ask someone to read the Bible passage for the lesson or for each section of the lesson as you get to it. I highlight in my study which Bible verses I want to read as a group.

√  Choose which questions you want to cover. A few of the Joyful Walk Bible Studies have a leader guide in the back of the book. These may help you use the study in a shorter group meeting time because some questions are already combined for you.

√  Work through the questions by reading the question and letting the group respond. Let them share what they’ve discovered. Try to keep the discussion moving along and not get bogged down on any one issue. See The 5 C’s of Small Group Leadership (chapter 4) for suggestions on how to do this.

√  See if the application question would be good for breaking up into smaller groups of 2-4 to discuss together. I call this “Table Talk.” This gives opportunity for shyer women to participate if they don’t like to speak up in a larger group. It also helps the women to get to know each other personally.

√  If the application is very personal, I don’t use it for “Table Talk” but ask if anyone would like to share their response with the group.

√  Pray for Jesus to apply what “we’ve learned in our lesson.”

 

There you go. Enjoy the blessings of discovering God’s Word together with a group of women and watching each one experience a joyful walk with Jesus.

Next time, I’ll share with you some suggestions on how to lead one of my Graceful Living studies.

“Choosing and Leading a Bible Study for a Group” series

1. How to choose a Bible study for yourself or for a group

2. How to lead a “Joyful Walk Bible Study”

3. How to lead a “Graceful Beginnings” study

4. Reasons Not to Depend upon Video-Driven Studies



If you’ve just start working through one of my studies, hooray! I hope you enjoy it and fall fresh in love with Jesus. Life cannot be any better than knowing Him! Welcome to the Joyful Walk community.

It is my joy to be able to provide free Bible studies for women and other free downloadable resources on this website. If you have enjoyed these resources, please partner with me by making a donation to “Joyful Walk Ministries.” That helps me to get more Bible studies written and out there to be used. Thank you for giving even just a little because it will go a long way!  

Melanie Newton books available on amazon.com. Check them out.When you shop Amazon, follow this link so that Amazon will donate a portion of your purchase automatically to this ministry. Thank you!


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