Having served on church staff for 18 years, one of the biggest joys (and one of the biggest challenges) was to recruit leaders to shepherd Bible study groups. Pastors and staff from around the country have attended workshops I’ve led on how to properly recruit new leaders to oversee Bible study groups. I’ve told them things like, “Always set an appointment with the person, share a job description with them, and ask them to pray.” Those things plus a few others have served me well over the years in getting new leaders to take on the challenge of being small group leaders. With the arrival of the new Bible Studies For Life curriculum in Fall 2013, I’d have a whole weapon to use in the battle to recruit front-line leaders. The new Bible Studies For Life adult curriculum is especially designed to help church staff leaders recruit new group leaders. Here’s how we did it.
- It’s designed to save leaders’ time in preparation. Recently when I asked a group of adult small group leaders how much time they spent preparing to lead Bible study, I got a wide range of answers. On the low end, three hours; on the high end, eight! I followed up by asking how much actual Bible study time they had in their groups, and no one had more than 35-40 minutes. As we designed the new leader guide, we created a simple one-point plan, easy-to-follow group plans that don’t require a lot of tweaking, and great discussion questions that are expertly crafted to generate lots of in-group discussion. Time-compressed people will find it easier to say yes to you when they see the simple layout coupled with generous, but not overwhelming, commentary.
- You don’t have to be a Bible scholar. When people think about what it means to lead a Bible study group, they often picture someone standing in front of the group and lecturing. The leader is the “expert” and does an ”information dump” on the group members. With the advent of the new leader guide, group leaders will navigate their people through great discussion questions and insightful observations about the Scripture passage being studied. The group leader won’t have to do all the talking anymore; the group members will take ownership of the Bible study experience as they interact with the discussion questions, Scripture, and each person’s stories and insights. We’ve taken the pressure off the group leader – gone are the days of that person being a Bible scholar. Anyone can pick up one of the new leader guides and start leading great study experiences in no time at all.
- It has an intuitive design. Have you ever picked up a set of instructions when putting together some item you purchased, and quickly became frustrated because of the lack of clear instructions? You were left wondering if you were doing it right, and often the measure of success were the number of extra parts you had left over at the end of the job! The new Bible Studies For Life leader guide is so intuitively designed that you could pick it up and know exactly how to lead your group through a great Bible study experience with little or no training at all. Google and Apple have become experts at simplification; now LifeWay has, too, with the new leader guide. Gone are the days of placing a leader guide in front of a potential leader, only to see them bolt and run because they are overwhelmed by the volume of content, instructions, and layout. The new design of the Bible Studies For Life leader guide makes people say, “Oh, I can do that!”