3 kinds of Bible study leaders

Slice it any way you want, but those of us who teach Bible study groups can be placed into one of 3 categories of teacher-leaders:

  1. Those who teach the lesson
  2. Those who teach people
  3. Those who teach for life change

Those Who Teach the Lessonlecture

In my experience, this is the most prevalent kind of group leader in the church today. A teacher has a lesson plan (whether provided by the church staff, a Christian publisher, or created by the teacher) and the goal is to teach according to the plan.

  • Emphasis is on “getting through the lesson”
  • Emphasis is on a transfer of information and knowledge from teacher to learner
  • Emphasis is on content preparation
  • Emphasis is on the methods and mechanics of teaching
  • Emphasis is on one or two dominant teaching styles prefered by the group’s leader

Success = Covering all the Points

Those Who Teach People

This kind of teacher is almost as prevalent as those who “teach the lesson.”

  • Emphasis is on “feeling good”
  • Emphasis is on the group being together
  • Emphasis is on how many people show up (attendance is king)
  • Emphasis is on the social dimension of the group experience

Success = Did we enjoy our time together?

Those Who Teach for Life Change

  • Emphasis is on more than attendance
  • Emphasis goes beyond Sunday (or whatever day the group meets)
  • Emphasis is on spiritual growth and maturity
  • Emphasis is on developing good spiritual disciplines
  • Emphasis is on applying the Scripture in practical ways
  • Emphasis is on engaging people in vibrant conversations during the group’s study

Success = spiritual transformation (a growing, serving, multiplying disciple)


  1. Ken – Thanks for this post. I will be with you when you are at FBC Jxn in a few weeks and I sure hope this will be part of your remarks. We need to hear this.

  2. So don’t get upset with me when we don’t skip chapters, go deeper, and are usually 3 – 5 weeks behind the calendar lesson plan… My class of young people really seem to like deep study and looking into where we are in our lives That interaction usually takes a little time. Great synopsis. (P.S. I did have one guy who couldn’t handle not not studying exactly according to the printed plan. He found another class that stays on schedule and is very happy.) So am I. The Lord is good.

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