Expectations. We all have them. What are your expectations of group members? In the 2017 book Teacher: Creating Conversational Community, authors David Francis, Allan Taylor, and myself urge you to think about providing a certain inexpensive tool for every one of your group members. Here is how we said it in the book:
If we care about discipleship, shouldn’t we expect more from people than just their attendance? While the list of learning approaches suggests that people want to do something more than just show up, they will settle for doing what is expected of them. Group members should be expected to make preparation for discussion in their Bible study group. The easiest way to express that expectation is to provide everyone with a Personal Study Guide. There is virtually no debate that when members, even if it is only some of them, show up having done some level of preparation, the conversation will be increasingly more meaningful.
I am concerned that many churches today are no longer providing Personal Study Guides for the members of their Bible study groups. The ones produced by my company (and by my editorial teams) cost about $3 each and contain 13 different Bible studies. That’s a cost of about $.03 a day to make sure each person has a tool they can use before, during, and after the group’s Bible study!
I’ve seen the way Personal Study Guides enhance my Bible study group’s discussion – people read the lesson before arriving at our study. I use the PSG sparingly during the group study, citing paragraphs or key points, and I often encourage follow-up reading in the PSG after the group time is over.
There’s nothing else in the world that a church can provide for such minimal cost that has the potential to do so much good! If your group isn’t using PSGs, but is instead just choosing random places in Scripture to study, consider investing in PSGs for your group members. I’ll even point you to free samples – 4 free PSG samples at each of the following sites. These are materials that my teams produce, and I trust any and all of them to create conversation in your group!
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