I don’t mind saying that I love the idea of saving my family’s leftover meals. In theory it will save us money, and maybe even some prep time, the next time we have a meal. However, the reality is that we often save our leftovers, only to throw them away. It seems we like the idea of leftovers more than we like leftovers themselves.
As a Bible study group leader, I have several kinds of leftovers. Because these leftovers have to do with God’s Word, I have taught myself to enjoy using those leftovers again. Here are 3 kinds of leftovers you may have at your church, and how you can make sure they don’t go to waste.
Leftover 1: Your group’s PSGs. Personal Study Guides (PSGs) may be leftover at the end of a series of studies. The PSGs that my group uses are from the Bible Studies For Life series produced by my teams at LifeWay. We (and classes all over our church) often have extra PSGs that have not been used (I am thankful that my minister of education orders extras because that means I always have copies for guests). So what should you do with those leftover PSGs? How about collecting them and using them to launch another Bible study group in the future?! As a leader/teacher, I have already prepped, studied, and taught those lessons. Why not hold onto a stack of 10-12 PSGs and use them to launch a new Bible study? During VBS week, I could start a new group for parents of the kids in attendance, and I would not have any costs since I saved the unused PSGs from an earlier study. Launch a new study at an apartment complex or on a college campus. Start a new Bible study In a neighborhood or workplace. There’s no reason to throw away those kinds of leftovers!
2. Leftover 2: Your church’s family magazines and devotionals. Just like PSGs, these may be leftover, too, at the end of each month. Lifeway has a great family of magazines and devotionals, and recently I became aware of a church that has found a way to use those leftovers to start a new ministry. That church as taken the leftovers and placed a label on the cover of each one (the label has the church’s name, address, phone, and website) and members place them in doctor’s offices, tire stores, hospital waiting rooms, laundromats, and other places where people need reading material.
Leftover 3: Unused parts of your Bible study session. Each week I teach God’s Word on my church campus. Each week I have things I meant to say and activities I intended the group to do, but for one reason or another, we couldn’t get to them. Perhaps discussion was particularly robust that day, or maybe I simply listened to the Holy Spirit when He said “no” to something I had planned to do or say. After each Bible study, spend 20 minutes evaluating the session and mark (highlight) the activities and commentary from your Leader Guide that you didn’t use. Those leftovers become ideas to use in future studies. There is no sense in letting a great point, illustration, or activity go unused!