Assimilation. Involvement. Connection. That’s the name of the game when it comes to group ministry. Dr. Thom Rainer has discovered that unless people get connected, make friends, and find something meaningful to do, they’ll drop out by the end of their first year at a rate of about 80%. Eighty percent!
I recently read the book Disciplemaking Is… by Earley and Dempsey. The authors recommend 10 ways to help people get involved in a Bible study group, and as a group leader myself, I like their thinking. Because Mondays on the blog are about passing along a book excerpt, here in their own words are Early and Dempsey:
The Christian leader must be committed…to spending time with other brothers and sisters and sharing life together. Further, the Christian leader also seeks to involve as many people as possible in the functions of the group. We seek to share the load and the responsibilities (see Exodus 18) of leading God’s people. Here are some different ways to involve people in the life of the group:
- Leading the icebreaker portion of the group.
- Leading the group’s prayer time.
- Recording and keeping track of the group’s prayer requests and sending email updates.
- Sending cards and letters to absentees.
- Planning the group’s refreshment schedule.
- Planning the group’s fun activities.
- Planning the group’s outreach efforts and activities.
- Hosting the group.
- Leading the group discussion.
- Praying about starting a new group in the future.
One of the greatest benefits of this type of involvement in the group is that as they serve, people will begin to discover their spiritual gift(s) in a natural way. In addition, as we share out lives together, we also become aware that God has brought us together, not just to have fun and fellowship, but to labor in the harvest fields.
As you look at this list, what possibilities do you see to involve people in the life of your Bible study group? Let go of some of the tasks you’re doing yourself, get others involved, and watch God transform your group.