I’m just guessing, but I bet your goal in leading a Bible study group isn’t to see it shrink. One of your goals should be to grow your group and see new people become a part of it. Here are several things you might do that will unintentionally shrink your group:
- Prepare your Bible study late in the week. You’re a busy guy, and you’ve learned to put your lesson together on Saturday. You did it once in an emergency, but hey, no one in the group complained about your “Saturday night special,” so you’ve learned to procrastinate and “study” for an hour or two on Saturdays. Your people are starting to recognize the fact that the lessons aren’t as good as they should be, but for now, they’re hanging in there with you. But not for much longer…
- Don’t follow up on the guests who come to your Bible study. After all, don’t those folks know that you’re glad they stopped by for the Bible study? Actually, they may not, so be sure to quickly follow up with each guest, telling them that you are thankful they attended the Bible study. Don’t hesitate to invite them back for the next session, either.
- Arrive late. Arriving late signals that something else is more important than the Bible study group. You wouldn’t arrive late for work, a doctor’s appointment, or dinner with a business client. Remember the general rule: “Early is on time; on time is late.” Arrive early so that you can check the room arrangement, set out any supplies you’ve brought, and mentally prepare for the arrival of your group members.
- Teach whatever you like. You believe in living out the last line of the book of Judges as a Bible study leader: “And they did whatever was right in their own sight.” You just love floating from topic to topic – the ones you pick to teach about. But you’re killing your group members who don’t share the same love for the end times…or spiritual gifts…or the book of Romans. To remedy this, try using a Bible study curriculum from a trusted curriculum provider that balances the topics of study over time.
- Forget about having regular fellowships. It may surprise you to know, Bible study guru, that many people who attend your group aren’t coming because of your command of Scripture. People often attend so they can build relationships and connect with other people, so an almost sure-fire way for you to shrink your group is to not have regular fellowships where people can get to know one another at a deeper level. If you want to shrink your group, just keep on teaching verse-by-verse, parsing sentences, and focusing on the minutia.
And there you have it. Five ways to shrink your Bible study group. Hopefully you aren’t doing any of these, but if you are, it’s time to stop!