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If you’ve ended up in this corner of the internet, we’d say it’s safe to say that you are beginning the incredible journey of leading a Bible study and might be in need of some guidance and tips.
Before reading any further, know this: The Lord has gone before both you as the leader and the gals in your group! You have felt the calling to lead a Bible study and your group members have felt a calling to join for a purpose of immeasurable value! You are not doing this alone!
Saying “yes” to leading a Bible study is saying “yes” to faithfully following a calling the Lord has placed before you. It is saying “yes” to trusting God with your time and how He will use you in incredible ways. It is saying “yes” to linking arm-in-arm with your sisters in Christ and delving into the growth and transformation God has in store for you.
We hope this step-by-step guide can offer resources, insight, and excitement as you begin your journey in leading a Bible study.
The best way you can lead your Bible study is by relying on the Lord and staying in communication with Him about this journey that He has called you into. Ask Him for clarity in the words you will share and for Him to create space to draw closer to the members of your study and to Him through your conversations. Start and end each meeting with prayer and invite your group members to lead in prayer as well. If you aren’t sure where to start, you can begin by praying, “Lord, I love you. Please give me Your words and the humility to tune my heart to what You’d have me say. Thank you for the calling and conviction you have given each of us to join this study. Please allow our conversations to grow our faith and our knowledge of You. Please take away my fear of failure and fill me with the courage and confidence in what You would have me say. Let this study be an expression of my love for You.”
Start to cultivate relationships in your group by encouraging a fun, engaging, and safe dialogue even before the first meeting. We promise this is more simple and less intimidating than it sounds, since we already do most of this on a daily basis with our own friends and family groups! Before your first meeting, start a group chat, introduce yourself, and ask a few questions to get conversation rolling! Even if you don’t get ample responses at first, those initial “reach outs” will set the tone for your role in the group and begin to cultivate a space to build relationships. You can also use these initial messages to share pertinent information like the time, date, Zoom code or address for your meeting and to set guidelines and expectations for your group.
Welcome your Bible study warmly, but also don’t be afraid to go deep with your conversations! You can start off with some simple ice breaker questions like these ones:
But then go in deep! Share your heart behind why you wanted to start this group and ask the girls to share their heart as well. These first meetings really set the tone for the rest of the time you gather. Here are some questions to help you go deep in conversation:
There is a reason you have experienced the calling to lead a Bible study and why your group members have felt a calling to join. If God has called you to this specific study at this specific time, listen to that, respect that, and dive in. We have three forms of currency in this life: time, talent, and treasure.
Use your time in a God-honoring way by actually blocking out your schedule, halting any distractions that may impede on this precious time with the Lord each day and week, and respect the gift the Lord has given you to lead.
Use your talent to hone your spiritual gift(s) in a way that serves your group. If you have the gift of worship, incorporate that into your meetings. If you have the gift of connectivity, be intentional about creating pathways and space for relationship building. If you have a gift of Biblical knowledge, pour that Scriptural truth and wisdom into your group’s conversations at every opportunity. We are each endowed with our gifts because God desires for us to use them to grow His kingdom (1 Peter 4:10-11). These gifts are not simply resources at our disposal that we can choose to utilize, we have a command from the One who gave us these gifts to share them! Lean in and trust in God’s perfect plan for this shared time.
And finally ask the Lord how you might use your treasure for this group. It could be buying snacks to create a welcoming environment, it could be feeling a nudge from the Lord to support a girl in your group on her next mission trip or fundraising campaign, or it could also look like asking a girl out for coffee and buying her drink. Our treasure is first and foremost the Lord’s treasure – let’s be women who steward that well too!
You might read this title and think, “WHAT?! I hate when no one is talking it feels so awkward,” but really silence is not a bad thing. The best way you can cultivate space for others to contribute organically is by doing the work of preparing questions and topics that make others think critically. Usually when someone is asked a challenging question, they need space to process, which means a minute or two of silence will follow. When this happens, sit in the silence and wait for the Lord to prompt one of the ladies in the group to share! When you do the work of prayer and preparedness, and truly aim to know and love your fellow group members, you can trust the Lord will intervene in seriously incredible ways in those moments of silence that turn into moments in moments of amazing conversation.
End your weekly meetings with an emphasis on rest. You have no idea what each group member is bringing to each weekly meeting or what they may be walking through. This may be one of the only sources of community and true rest they experience in their week. One way to emphasize this is by encouraging everyone turn off their screens, close their eyes, and listen to a shared worship song. Building an emphasis of rest and prayer as the foundation of your study will encourage your group to enter into the rest of their day and week in a mindset of rest and renewal sourced from the Lord.
Take the opportunity to lead the women in your group by cultivating both group and individual connections outside of your weekly meetings. This could simply look like a thoughtful text at some point in the week, mailing a handwritten note, or even arranging a 1-1 coffee date or a group hang to do something fun together. Our relationship with Jesus was never intended to be boxed to a weekly meeting so neither should our relationships with women we are doing life with! The Lord works in mysterious ways so let’s trust Him with our time and energy in building up these relationships into what He desires them to be.
What would you add to this list? We would love to hear! Put them in the comments below and let’s grow as women leading other women together!
Hannah is an educator, writer, and Jesus lover. She is UCLA graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in American Literature and Culture. Throughout her college career, Hannah was involved with CRU, helped lead a weekly sorority Bible study, and volunteered for UCLA’s ArtsBridge program, where she developed curriculum for second language learners in LAUSD. Hannah now serves as Director of Operations for Victory Garden Kids, a K-12 academic enrichment center. Hannah is passionate about worship and connecting with young women; she has had the opportunity to speak at She Matters, a Christ-centered community event for 7-12th graders, for the past three years. Hannah has also appeared in TV and film roles including 13 Reasons Why, How I Met Your Mother, That Is How Motherhood Works and also been featured in the New York Times and on Larry King Now.
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