Do you want to do a Bible study and would rather do it in community with other women rather than by yourself? Maybe you have been thinking about starting a Bible study and inviting others to join you but you do not know where to start. Are you afraid that you do not know enough of the Bible to lead a Bible Study for a group? Does the thought of directing a discussion make your knees tremble? Did you know that everyone feels inadequate when they start out? You are not alone. I have been where you are. Thankfully, Jesus took me beyond my insecurities. He will do the same for you. Now may be the time to step out in faith and just do it. I am here to help you and be your cheerleader through the process. In this article, I will give you suggestions on how to launch a Bible study group as part of lifestyle disciplemaking. This is blog #10 in our “Lifestyle Disciplemaking” series, adapted from our book, Leap into Lifestyle Disciplemaking.
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Many churches offer Bible studies for women. All you have to do is sign up. But a lot of churches do not offer Bible studies for women because the churches are too small or have no one to lead the way. Starting and leading a Bible study group outside of your church ministry structure is part of the launch phase of lifestyle disciplemaking. If you want to start a Bible study group, here are my suggestions to get started.
By faith, you can start a Bible study group
Faith is the essential component of the Christian life.
Followers of Jesus Christ are to live every day by faith. That is what Paul is communicating to us in Galatians.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20, NIV)
The life you and I live every day is by faith in the Son of God—Jesus Himself. Christ not only lives in you, He is living through you. If you are being prompted by the Lord to start a Bible study, just say, “Yes, I will do this, Lord. Please help me.” Jesus is with you every step of the way and in every situation—in your church, neighborhood, community, or workplace. At any age or stage of life, someone around you needs to know Jesus or to know Him better through studying the Bible.
Faith means you step out in a direction of trusting Jesus to get you through whatever it is you are doing. It leads to becoming a God-dependent woman. And whatever makes you depend upon God more is good for you!
You can start and lead a Bible study group not because you are so great or smart or have been a Christian a long time or know the Bible really well. You can do this because Jesus is the one who enables you to do it.
You can lead a Bible study without knowing all the answers. No one knows all the answers anyway! Just delete that insecurity from your mind. You do not need a seminary degree to lead a Bible Study for others, just a teachable heart and mind. Ask Jesus to teach you what you need to know for your group. Being the leader presses you to grow and learn for yourself. Whether you have been studying the Bible for two years or doing it for decades, share what you know and what you are learning as you lead others to do the same. Win-win!
This is a good way to put into practice the “Inflow / Overflow Principle.” I mentioned in an earlier article, “Establish: Choose to Disciple Others,” that there is a problem of too much inflow and not enough outflow in many of our Bible teaching churches. You may have been in Bible studies for years and have a lot of inflow from those studies plus sermons, classes, and small groups swimming around in your head. What do you do with all of that information so that you do not feel overwhelmed and even numb in your response to the Word of God? The best way is to start and lead a Bible study with women who need to know what you have learned. You will also benefit from it.
Desire the benefits of starting and leading a Bible study group
Starting and leading a Bible study group can be one of the greatest adventures you have ever tried. And it is good for you.
- Leading a Bible study presses you to grow and learn for yourself. You always learn more when you prepare to help someone else grow in their faith.
- Leading a Bible study also teaches you how to depend on Jesus Christ more. And whatever leads you to depend on Him is a good thing for you. We are to live by faith in Him and let Him live His life through us.
You can lead a Bible study group even if you are scared. Give your insecurities to Jesus. He is the one who makes you able to do everything in the Christian life, and that includes starting a Bible study. You are simply to obey Him and trust His Spirit to work through you. Being scared is a good thing because you will rely on Him more.
It is okay to say, “Lord, I cannot do this on my own, but you can in me and through me. I will trust you with this.” Step out in faith. Say “yes” and jump in with both feet.
Start with prayer
Talk it over with Jesus. Let Him know of your desire to start a Bible study group. Ask Him to help you discern what you should study and to show you whom you should ask to join you.
Consider whom to invite
Consider ways to invite women to join you for a study. This is easier now with available social media platforms and email.
- You can personally invite neighbors, coworkers, or church friends.
- You can put an invitation on Facebook and see who responds. This works well for local groups that meet in person as well as groups that meet online through Zoom or other apps. One member of our Joyful Walk Community did that and found 50 women in her remote area who wanted to do a Bible study with her through a Facebook Group, occasionally meeting together at a local coffee shop.
- Maybe you have some mommy friends who need to have some adult discussion. I know a group of women who get together for Bible study right after they drop their children off at school in the morning.
- Consider inviting some coworkers to join you during your lunch break. One friend of mind did that. She and about 5 coworkers met for 6-8 weeks during the lunch hour. It built some community among employees who had not previously known about each other’s faith. The Navigators ministry calls these “Learning Communities.” I like that phrase.
Decide when to meet
It can be at any time that works for you and your group—early in the morning before school or work, in the evening, or on Saturday mornings. You could offer a lunch-and-learn Bible study for your coworkers. Whatever works for you and for those you invite. Go for it.
It does not have to be every week. I know of several groups of friends who meet only twice a month for Bible study. It does help to not go too long between meetings, though. You can lose consistency in thought if too much time passes. At least, I do!
Decide where to meet
Usually, you think of meeting in someone’s home. That does not always work, though. Outside of homes, the possibilities are endless. I met with a group of ladies in the evening at a coffee shop one summer while sitting outside under the awning. Another group met in the café area of the local grocery store over the lunch hour, drawing in women who work from home in our area.
Restaurants can be noisy, making it hard to hear one another. But some have side rooms you can reserve. Meeting at a room in your church might be the most convenient place, especially if you like to know you will always have a place to meet away from crowds! But that depends on the openness of your church to have outside groups using the building. Remember that you want everyone to be able to hear and see each other.
You can try different days, times, and places until you find something that works well for your group.
Select a Bible study guide that interests you.
Your passion about the study will be infectious to your group. If you are excited about doing a certain study, it will be easier to get others interested.
- If this is your first time to lead a study, we recommend that you choose a Bible study guide that is short and easy to lead. If you have some women in your group who are new to the Bible, you want lessons that are simple and easy-to-understand for beginners. Our short and easy studies work well for beginners, fit well in a limited discussion time of an hour or less, and are easy to lead.
- If you already have experience leading a Bible study small group at your church or through another ministry, you may want to choose a study designed for growing Christians who already have some experience studying the Bible. You can tell this by the length of the lessons and whether the questions assume you have a working knowledge of the Bible.
You can visit our free bible studies for women page to see what is available on our website. We also have links to other pages that offer Bible studies for women that you can download.
Download the “Start and Lead a Bible Study Group” booklet. It includes a section on choosing a Bible study guide for your group.
Set a start date
Set a start date, notify those you are inviting, and tell them how to get the study materials.
- Option 1: Order books for all the group members to have on hand the first time you meet.
- Option 2: Give the link for each group member to order her own book.
Leading the group
There are two roles of a Bible study group leader. You begin both of those roles the first time you get together.
- Role #1: Content Guardian (guarding how the truth from God’s Word is presented and received). As Content Guardian for your group, you have authority to control the content of the Bible study discussion.
- Role #2: Community Builder (built around shared study and application of God’s Word). As Community Builder for your group, you manage the group interaction to help them love one another well.
Doing these roles effectively leads to a healthy group.
Prepare wisely as Content Guardian
Preparation is very important as you lead any kind of Bible study group. Always start with prayer for Jesus to help you learn what He wants you to know for the lesson. Then, you diligently work through the lesson yourself and review what you have done to make a plan for leading the lesson. As the Content Guardian for the group, you have the authority to determine what your group will cover. Practice speaking through your plan, asking the Lord to show you what your group needs to learn.
Download our “Start and Lead a Bible Study Group” booklet which includes what to do on the first day your group meets, how to prepare as you do your lesson, and how to lead the discussion using a study guide with or without accompanying videos. It also includes helpful suggestions to lead a Bible study without using a study guide.
Lead graciously as Community Builder through challenging situations
Approach your roles with humility and grace as you guide your group members through reading the living, transforming Word of God together. Keep your group focused on Christ and His work in their lives throughout the discussion. Ask Jesus to help you do this in a way that pleases Him and shows love to the women. When you stay focused on Christ and dependent on Him, He will guide you in your roles as Content Guardian and Community Builder.
As you read through the Scriptures and work through the questions according to your plan, challenging situations will happen in every group. Some group members will not work on their lessons on their own. You will need to manage talkative people so they do not dominate the discussion while affirming the quieter ones to share their answers. You will need to interrupt any attempt from the group members to “fix” each other’s problems and point them to Jesus instead. There will moments when you need decide whether to clarify the truth if a comment needs further explanation or just let it go. Avoid getting bogged down on any one issue. Be ready to give emotional support if the discussion causes someone to cry.
Download our “Start and Lead a Bible Study Group” booklet which includes more guidance to help you lead graciously through challenging situations.
May Jesus make your time as a Bible Study leader very fruitful for Him. Enjoy the blessings of discovering God’s Word together with a group of people and watch each one experience a joyful walk with Jesus. It will be a great adventure!
Stay Christ-focused as you take the next steps
Step out in faith and just do it! Ask Jesus to help you with all of the above steps to start and lead a Bible study group. Depend on Him to show you what to do. He is faithful! See what He does as you trust Him with this decision. Go ahead, launch out onto the adventure! Then, watch what He does!
We have lots of resources on our website to help you start and lead a Bible study group. Want more help for leading a small group? Get Be a Christ-Focused Small Group Leader from our website and most online bookstores.
Lifestyle disciplemaking activities are interwoven throughout our Live Out His Love Bible Study of New Testament women.
Let Jesus lead you into lifestyle disciplemaking. Jesus followers become disciplemakers.
- The Call to Lifestyle Disciplemaking
- Connect: Build Intentional Relationships with Nonbelievers
- Connect: Become a Designated Engager
- Connect: Prepare to Share Your Faith Story
- Connect: Prepare to Share the Gospel Facts
- Establish: Give Believers Strong Roots
- Establish: Choose to Disciple Others
- Establish: Nurture Women Who Are New to the Bible
- Launch: Multiply Impact Beyond Yourself
- Launch: Use Your Workday Lunch Break for Disciplemaking
- Launch: Transition to a Disciplemaking-Focused Women’s Ministry
- Live Out His Love Bible Study on Amazon (New Testament women, disciplemaking preparations)
- Be a Christ-Focused Small Group Leader on Amazon (prepares group leaders for disciplemaking)
- Lifestyle Disciplemaking resources on my website (including everything in this blog series)
- Host a “Leap into Lifestyle Disciplemaking” retreat
- Women’s Bible Study Curriculum on Bible.org (free to download, some with audio and lecture handouts)
- “Start and Lead a Bible Study Group” booklet
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