Have you ever wanted to study a passage from the Bible that is particularly relevant or meaningful with your small group but didn’t know how to prepare a small group lesson on your own?
The goal of this guide is to give you a simple way to prepare a lesson that can lead to true life change in your group.
When preparing a small group lesson, it’s important to remember that your goal isn’t to come up with something that sounds impressive or shows off your knowledge about the Bible. Your goal is to help the group grow in their relationship with God through studying the Bible together.
The questions you ask about what you’re reading should point your group members to Jesus and help them look for answers in the Scripture. God’s Word is powerful and can transform lives.
What do you want your small group members to take away from the lesson?
Answer the following questions:
What do I want my group members to understand and believe?
What do I want them to experience?
How do I want them to respond to Jesus? (First in their hearts and minds, which leads to the change of attitudes and behavior.)
To start, ask a question that will cultivate an interest in your study by raising a problem or issue that your passage from the Bible addresses.
Your launch question should help your group members see their need for God to work in that area of their lives. Sometimes they may not see the connection to the passage right away, but it should become clearer as the lesson goes on.
Survey the Big Picture: Give them a brief overview of the context of the Scripture they need in order to understand your passage.
When and why was it written?
What happens in the passage before and after this one?
In what part of God’s story does it take place?
Explore the Passage: God determines the meaning of a passage, and good questions help you discover what God said. You can group your questions according to the way the passage is divided in your Bible (e.g., Ephesians 4:1-6, 7-16).
Here are three simple questions to keep in mind:
What does it say (observation questions)?
What does it mean (interpretation questions)?
Why does it matter (significance questions)?
Discover the Big Idea: Ask a question to help them catch the main point of the passage.
If you don’t know the answer to some or any of these questions, consult a good study Bible.
And, remember, you aren’t determining what a passage means, you are responding to the discovery of that meaning.
Remember that your teaching will be most effective when it is focused on the good news of God’s ultimate plan to rescue humanity through Jesus.
Through Scripture, God intends “to restore aspects of our brokenness (the messiness of us and the world) to spiritual wholeness (what He intended for us),” and this is the way God makes us to be more like Him and helps us enjoy our relationship with Him.
We are dependent on God’s redemptive work — offering forgiveness through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for all we’ve done wrong — to not only become followers of Jesus but also for the process of becoming more like Him.
Ask a couple of questions based on what you read that do the following:
Help the group picture what it would look like practically to live out the Bible passage you’re reading
Reveal your need for God to help them see how they experience the “spiritual brokenness” this passage reveals (i.e., some aspect of their sin or brokenness that requires the grace of God).
Point them to Jesus. What aspect of (the good news of) God’s grace do they need to believe and embrace in order to reflect and enjoy God’s glory?
Hopefully, this small group template is helpful to you. The main idea when leading your group in a Bible study is to point them to how the passage shows you your need for God and how perfectly and beautifully Jesus meets that need.
Now it’s time to get started!
First, choose a passage of the Bible that is meaningful to you and write a small group lesson using this template.
If you want, you can download or print this template.
Several questions may come to mind as you plan your small group. Here are four components that are key to most small groups or Bible studies that will answer your questions.
Life-changing small group environments are less about how-tos and more about experiencing Jesus. They are not focused on building head knowledge but on changing hearts and minds. These communities not only equip their members for service but also expose sin and call people to adore Christ. Christ-centered communities transform lives from the inside out.
An environment where Christians and non-Christians can study the Bible together and care for one another can be beneficial to everyone involved.
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