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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

With the start of fall Bible studies, many women are leading for the first time. Today, I've got some great tips from my friend Susanne Scheppmann about how to lead a Bible study. I believe many of the principles behind these tips can help you in almost any small group setting, even a business meeting.

First let me introduce my dear friend Susanne. She is amazing! Suzanne is an accomplished author and speaker, including authoring Bible studies. Here book titles are listed below in her bio. She's also been a women's ministry director. She knows what she's talking about!

If these tips don't apply to you now, I encourage you to forward them to someone you know who is leading a group. I believe she will be blessed by them.

At the end of the post, you'll read about a special give-away Susanne is hosting. So keep reading!

Tips for Small Group or Bible Study Leaders by Susanne Scheppmann

* Please set aside plenty of time to prepare your lesson. You might want to work a week in advance of the group in case you have crazy week. If you do work ahead, make sure you review the current’s week lesson before you come to class. You will get confused!

* Pray for your group during the week! Ask Christ to give you His Agape love for them. Give them a call or a send note occasionally. If someone quits the group, call and send a card. Two contacts is enough to know they are missed, but not too much pressure.

* Fifteen members is a good size group. (However, more than likely the group will be larger than that!) Usually, you will have three to four absent members.

* You are the shepherd, they are the sheep. Care for them!

* If you have someone with extreme needs, refer to your pastor or professional counseling. They will come along side of the person. If you have a concern with an individual, please contact your Women’s Ministries leader.

* Please allow a few minutes of quiet time for yourself before class. If not at home, even the restroom will do.

* Keep the discussions moving. Some questions by nature will take more discussion time; however try to be aware of which questions might be trigger a long discussion in your group.

* Watch for body language. Fidgeting, folded arms, eyes averted, people reading ahead. Remember you are the facilitator, people expect you to take charge if things get out of hand.

* Stop and pray for the crisis, (one minute) them move right on to the next question.

* Move the discussion from political, critical, or way off beat discussions. Avoid negative discussion. Example: (Abortion, there will probably be a least one woman in your group who has had one.) Although, we feel strongly about these issues, the church needs to become a place of healing, not further wounding.

* Highlight important sections. Highlight important questions. Rephrase the question to make it applicable to the women.

* Write in your own answers, but do not feel compelled to share each of your answers.

* Use personal illustrations, show by example.

Susanne Scheppmann is a coast-to-coast speaker and author who serves with Proverbs 31 Ministries. For several years, she was an assistant co-editor for our online devotionals—Encouragement for Today.

She is an author of four books. Susanne’s Bible study, Perplexing Proverbs was published in 2007. Her most recent books, Divine Prayers for Despairing Parents and Birds in My Mustard Tree this year. Her next book, Embraced by the Father, will release next March.

She has lived in Las Vegas for over 30 years with her husband, Mark. They have three grown children and three very adorable grandchildren. She loves to travel, read and fish. Her “babies” at home are three little dogs, Taffy, Tiki & Tulip. Visit Susanne Scheppmann's Blog to learn more about her.

Susanne has offered to give away two of her books: Birds in My Mustard Tree and Perplexing Proverbs. To enter the drawing, just leave a comment on my blog. We'll select two winners at random in a few days. Make sure you leave contact email address. If you don't want to leave your email address on the blog, then you can email me personally at editor@proverbs31.org.

In His Love,



KelliGirl said...

These are excellent and timely tips. I lead a women's Bible study and have been in search of some guidance.

Thanks for sharing.

My Journey to Hope said...

Thanks for sharing these tips! They're great for any kind of small group, too. You always have such great information on your blogs. Thank you!!

:) Michelle