New Bible Study groups are an effective way for your church to reach more people, disciple more people in the Word, and even increase your offerings! One key to starting new Bible study groups is to have effective teachers to lead them. These potential new leaders are sitting in your groups right now, but how do we discover and develop them? We work with current teachers. Here is how it works.
Challenge every existing teacher to multiply their ministry by investing themselves in another potential leader. That leader should work alongside the current teacher to learn how to develop and facilitate a Bible study session, and how to guide the class to accomplish ministry goals. Potential leaders should be viewed as apprentices and not substitute teachers.
How does a teacher find and enlist an apprentice?
Though you may look for a person who exhibits the spiritual gift of teaching, often the best teachers are those with the gift of shepherding. Those with the gift of shepherding often do a good job of helping people discover Scriptural truth and apply it to their lives and do a good job of caring for—shepherding—their group members. Ask teachers to Identify those in their group who demonstrate leadership qualities using these suggested steps:
- Pray for discernment from the Holy Spirit.
- Notice who is faithful in attendance and lesson preparation.
- Observe who makes helpful comments and enjoys class participation.
- Notice who shows a heart for other class members and their needs.
- Ask the potential apprentice to join you in ministry.
Guide the apprentice but don’t overwhelm.
- Ask the apprentice to observe their current teacher.
- Show the apprentice step-by-step how you, her teacher, develops a Bible study session.
- Provide her a copy of the Leader Guide and encourage her to study each week.
- Ask him to research background information on a book of the Bible to be studied, or give a definition of a particular word. Provide him any resources he may need. If you use LifeWay curriculum consider providing additional resources available for each ongoing Bible study series.
- Work with the apprentice to develop a teaching plan.
- Finally, schedule him to teach a Bible study lesson. Provide feedback each time your apprentice leads in class. Coach him in ways to improve.
Develop the whole teacher.
- Teachers do more than teach a lesson. It is important that the apprentice understand the shepherding aspect of being a teacher. The teacher should take him when he visits a member in the home or in the hospital. Ask him to contact several members each week to see how they are doing and ask for prayer requests that the group can pray for. Invite him to visit guests or to follow-up with assigned prospects.
- Train the apprentice on class administration, such as how to manage the group session time with fellowship, prayer time, and Bible study; how to enlist other leaders in the group, such as care leaders, prayer leader, fellowship leader, etc. Help him understand the role for each group leader.
As Christian Educators we are constantly enlisting and recruiting leaders. Encouraging our current teachers to enlist and train someone from their group will go far in providing new teachers to lead the groups we need to start.
Alan Raughton is a member of BACE and serves as the Adult Ministry Specialist at LifeWay Christian Resources, Nashville, Tennessee