How to Begin an Evangelistic Bible Study
Now that you have offered to have a Bible study in your home, let’s consider why people have indicated an interest:
- Need for fellowship (lonely)
- Liked you – felt drawn to you as a person
- Curious about the Bible
- Deep needs
- People want what they see in your life (or the speaker’s)
- Part of God’s spiritual process
This is not a project! This is a new beginning in your neighborhood or workplace. These are new relationships, and your aim in having this study is to share the person of Christ in order to cause others to seriously consider the need to receive Him. For those who are already Christians, your aim will be to help establish them in their relationship with Christ.
Your basic responsibilities to the group will be:
- To guide the group into what the Bible says and means
- To help them see the relevancy of God in their lives
- To value each person as an individual
- To accept each person right where they are
- To pray for each one that God entrusts to you
Begin with prayer! Pray about when to start. Set a date! If you would like, let those who responded to coming to the Bible study have input in the decision. Your Bible study should begin with a short commitment of four to six weeks.
Invite all who were originally invited to your Gathering. Personally call to invite everyone so that you can answer their questions. You may wish to include a Christian friend who can be a back-up person to help lead the study.
Use one home for all six weeks. It doesn’t have to be your home. Be prompt in beginning and ending your Bible study. The minimum time for the study itself should be 45-60 minutes. Allow additional time for fellowship. (1 1/2 hours works well).
If you want food and beverages, keep it very simple.
At your first meeting:
1. Use name tags.
2. Give an opportunity for introductions.
3. Explain the purpose of the Bible study: “We want to learn together how God and the Bible are relevant to our lives.”
4. Share guidelines for the study to set participants’ mind at ease and provide a “safe” environment for learning.
For example, participants should be aware that they:
- Will not be quizzed on their knowledge of the Bible or Christianity.
- Will no be “called on” for answers, but hope all will want to take part.
- Will always be free to ask questions, looking for answers together.
It is essential that the Bible remain the centerpiece of conversation, not our diverse denominational or religious backgrounds and traditions.
5. Have an extra Bible available in case someone doesn’t have one.
6. Tell them about the study you have picked for the next five weeks and distribute study books.
As the leader, remember to:
- Relax, laugh at yourself, have a sense of humor.
- Be enthusiastic but not overpowering.
- Resist temptation to answer questions – allow silence.
- Let group discuss – refer questions back to the group.
- Don’t register shock – accept people where they are.
- Respond positively: “That’s an interesting thought. Does anyone have anything to add?”
- Consider re-wording the question to get an appropriate response.
- Use people’s names; respond as you would naturally.
- Be familiar with material so you can look at people as they respond.
- If you don’t know the answer, admit it! “Let’s together try to find the answer for next week.”
- Let the Bible be the final authority; teach them to look back to see what the verse said.
- Don’t waste time on irrelevant questions. Bring the group back to what you are studying.
- Avoid Christian clichés. Think about your language being understood by non-churched people.
- You can expect spiritually inaccurate responses.
- Don’t Worry!
- Love Them … right where they are!
- Expect Results … God is at work!
During your remaining meetings, you might pray a simple prayer to open the Bible study. Take time to go through the guidelines again if new people come.
At your final meeting, wrap up your time by asking one or more of these questions:
- What have you learned about God?
- What does this study tell you about yourself?
- What has this study meant to you?
- What new insights have you gained from this study?
If you sense the group (or someone in the group) would like to continue, be prepared to talk about when and what you will study.
1. Keep a page in a notebook with notes about each person (family, insights, prayer requests). Use this page for your personal prayer time for them.
2. Keep a record of what you did each week and who came.
3. If appropriate, meet with each participant individually and ask what was helpful to them during the Bible study. This may give you an opportunity to help them take spiritual steps.
Suggested Resources – see Resources page