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 Healthy Bible Studies Going Deep

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kerrick

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PostSubject: Healthy Bible Studies Going Deep   Fri Mar 21, 2014 12:31 pm

Hey everyone!  I'd love to get some wisdom from y'all.  I've been leading a Bible study through my church's 20s/30s age-group ministry for some time now which has been really great.  However, I feel our group has come to a bit of a point of stagnation in terms of depth.  In the past, this hasn't been much of an issue, though with this group's personality makeup, I think my coleader and I are going to need to mix things up some and cater specifically to how our group operates.  In terms of emotional depth, we've got a few folks who have set the bar pretty high.  I think our group is pretty open, genuine, honest, and vulnerable with each other.  And in terms of biblical history/truth/theology, I think we do an alright job as well.  We've got one guy who's basically a Bible encyclopedia and it's awesome!  But it's where those two elements meet that I feel we are lacking.  For those who have led or been in small group studies in the past, what have you found that works (and doesn't work) for converging/applying the biblical truths with our own humanity and lives?  To be quite honest, there are one or two folks in our group who, for lack of better terms, are just awkward.  They have a tendency to embark on irrelevant monologues/stories.  I've been working with the primary offender some - and she's been getting better - though there's just a certain social disconnect there that I can't do anything about.  Anyways, I'd love to hear your thoughts on what helps grow a Bible study group!
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Staybrite

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PostSubject: Re: Healthy Bible Studies Going Deep   Fri Mar 21, 2014 6:26 pm

I have to confess to never having lead a bible study group for anyone over the age of 12....so not sure I could be of much help. Whenever I would have trouble with any of my members I removed him from the group and made him stand in the corner.....come to think of it you could give that a try.

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kerrick

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PostSubject: Re: Healthy Bible Studies Going Deep   Fri Mar 21, 2014 6:51 pm

Oh......... I've been tempted.  This particular gal has a heart of absolute gold, it's just that she doesn't "get it" when it comes to social norms and what-not.  She thinks very differently than most folks and is very much a verbal-processor.  And while she definitely is a factor in where our Bible study group is/isn't in terms of depth, she's not fully to "blame" by any means.  What are some ways in which you (anyone) have seen profound growth through?  Service projects, prayer, worship...?
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Xid

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PostSubject: Re: Healthy Bible Studies Going Deep   Fri Mar 21, 2014 8:08 pm

I've never lead a Bible Study and the one that we tried a long time ago was a freakin' nightmare.

It's something my wife and I have been considering doing.
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alldatndensum
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PostSubject: Re: Healthy Bible Studies Going Deep   Sat Mar 22, 2014 9:01 am

With that one square peg in a Bible study group, you are just going to have to learn to become a master at redirection.  If they get lost on a tangient, you are going to have to find a way to circle that loose rabbit back to where you want it.  My Sunday School teacher is a master at this.  Of course, she has two or three of us who see when a conversation is going awry that will help her get it back on track as well.  Sometimes, one of us will see a way to tie that off-course story, or at least a piece of it, back into our study.

Of course, our teacher isn't really so much a teacher as she is a discussion leader and student herself.  We do a lot of Socratic debate which is, in layman's terms, a method of open discussion with questions to lead you where the discussion is heading.  It works well for our class.  


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What are some ways in which you (anyone) have seen profound growth through?  Service projects, prayer, worship...?

Service projects are amazing--especially if you can serve people who are truly, desperately in need.  If you go the extra mile and take time to pray with these people for whatever they might ask, they just seem to melt.  They will listen to you the next time you come around if you aren't pushing anything more than prayer to begin with.  You have to keep serving to earn the right to speak to people these day.  Shotgun evangelism works in the right setting, but it turns most people off.

Prayer times are also amazing if everyone is into it.  Get in a circle and start praying.  Ask anyone who feels that they want to pray out loud to follow.  Don't be afraid to confess some of your faults and failures during this time as it really loosens up the group.  I miss this kind of open honesty.  We went to an AoG church several years ago and they did this with groups.  Sometimes it would be everyone.  You don't want to confess lust when the women are around....just a side note!  Sometimes we would break off in men's and women's groups.  That's where you can start being open and even build friendships because a lot of men will have the same struggles as you.

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Driven

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PostSubject: Re: Healthy Bible Studies Going Deep   Sun Mar 23, 2014 5:54 pm

At my youth group Bible study, there are about 15 of us - mostly Grade 10/sophomore students - and there are only about 3 or 4 of us who actually contribute to the discussion. Not to toot my horn, but I'm one of them, and my friends are the others. The other people there are just awkwardly silent, usually, and it feels like a conversation between 5 people with a lot of awkward pauses. However, I appreciate being able to be honest with people my age, and I hope the silent students get something out of the discussion and lessons.
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Through The Dark Radio

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PostSubject: Re: Healthy Bible Studies Going Deep   Mon Mar 24, 2014 3:48 pm

You must be able to stamp out all individuality and use whatever tactics are available to have all other conform.  I would suggest a bamboo cane to whip them.  That usually brings about submission and willingness to bend to your absolute will.

Oh wait, you want to have them grow spiritually, My mistake Very Happy

Getting involved in some type of mission (serving food together at a local shelter) is a great idea.  This helps form the cohesiveness of the group and helps them demonstrate God's love to others, which they may not do on their own.  Also, as a co-leader, you'll have to bring up deeper conversations to start things off.  And don't worry about chasing rabbits every now and then.  Sometimes they can lead to some great insights.
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kerrick

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PostSubject: Re: Healthy Bible Studies Going Deep   Mon Mar 24, 2014 4:34 pm

Thanks everyone for your insight!  I spoke last night with a good friend who's also in my group.  He had some good thoughts on how to become more cohesive with my co-leader: 1) meet 15 minutes beforehand to pray and get on the same page and 2) meet for a bit after to discuss what worked, what didn't work, and what we could have done better.  We're both very analytical so I think #2 will come very easy to us.

As Alldat mentioned, I've actually become somewhat a master of redirection haha.  I still have a ways to go though!  However, I'd love to get to the core of that issue, as redirecting is more of a treatment of the symptom - not the illness.  I think a service project would probably be really positive and will try to get that ball rolling.  Thanks guys!
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alldatndensum
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PostSubject: Re: Healthy Bible Studies Going Deep   Tue Apr 01, 2014 6:25 am

Quote :
However, I'd love to get to the core of that issue, as redirecting is more of a treatment of the symptom - not the illness. 

You are never to take curing someone's illness upon yourself.  Even if you are counseling someone, THEY must be the one to make the correction.  Hopefully something you say will be meaningful to them and help them to make their change. Ultimately, it is an individual's and the Holy Spirit's place to change a heart.  You just keep doing what you do best.  Let God handle the rest.

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I might have decided, or maybe not, that I should or shouldn't, depending on the issue or non-issue, to possibly share or not share, any thoughts, opinions, or facts (that might not be deemed factual by some), due to possible fear of any misinterpretation or retribution.
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Guilty/Forgiven

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PostSubject: Re: Healthy Bible Studies Going Deep   Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:20 am

My 2 cents:
For almost 6 years, we've had a home Bible study that is seriously deep and SO fulfilling compared to the shallowness of churches. People have come and gone, but the core group is quite faithful.
It's led by a good friend of mine who is a retired LAPD (nothing like a Bible study led by someone who's packin'  Twisted Evil  ). He is very well versed and studied and presents multiple sources, many agree, but some have different ideas - thus allowing us different options in understanding what the passage means - using TLC (Time Language and Culture).
I said all that to say this: We have one guy who's about 60 who's sharp as a tack, but his mind is so full, he rabbit trails all over the place. Tom, the leader, has a loving way of telling him he's way off track and he cuts him off making it clear he only has so much time and if the guy wants to talk about those things afterwards, he'll be happy to, but it doesn't have anything to do with tonight's study. We get a kick out of both of them. And many times, we will stay after the study and discuss his rambling topic of conversation...
But yes, there have been times, for the sake of others who are there to study the topic at hand, who don't want a 20 minutes off the subject discussion about Muslims or whatever. Tom will tell him quite firmly that it doesn't apply to what we're studying and it doesn't add to or enhance our study, save it for after the study.
People get hung up on "being nice" and love love love... sometimes a person is simply a heckler and they need to be dealt with... Several years ago I was involved in a different Bible study and there was a lady who wanted so much attention, she was nothing but a distraction to the rest of us every week for a couple months. The couple heading this one simply told her nicely to shut up or leave. She left and the study continued wonderfully. Sometimes a rotten tooth has to be pulled.
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