I recently met with a group of pastors who attended a conference at LifeWay’s new headquarters in Nashville, TN. My assignment: spend an hour with them thinking through the reasons why providing a PSG (personal study guide) for Bible study group members is a good idea. In my 18 years of local church education/discipleship ministry, I made certain that every person had the opportunity to have their own PSG to be used as a disciple-making tool. Here are six reasons why PSGs are a good idea:
- THEY REMOVE BARRIERS. Content increases confidence. People are often intimidated by their lack of knowledge. It’s hard to convince someone to visit a Bible study group if they don’t feel confident they can keep up with the people in the group. A PSG makes sure that people have equal access to the information being covered in the group.
- THEY ARE A DISCIPLESHIP TOOL. People must learn to self-feed daily in order to grow. Dr. Brad Waggoner’s research has demonstrated this consistently. Self-feeding and reading God’s Word and other Christian literature daily is the #1 predictor of spiritual growth.
- THEY HELP PEOPLE UNDERSTAND GOD’S WORD. God’s Word transforms a disciple’s life. PSGs have excellent commentary from trusted authors and experts.
- THEY DEEPEN DISCUSSION. Good discussion questions create a quality experience in a group Bible study. Questions in the curriculum are crafted by experts who have advanced degrees and many years of experience in group dynamics.
- THEY DEVELOP LEADERS. Group members grow in the confidence they need to take the next step toward becoming group leaders. If a Leader Guide is a crafted as a simple tool, then any lay person could expect to pick up a copy, read the teaching plan, and deliver a satisfying Bible study experience.
- PEOPLE ATTEND IRREGULARLY. Group members are able to keep up when they are absent. Discipleship shouldn’t take a week off. When people are absent, they can keep up with the group IF they have a PSG.
- THEY ARE AN AFFORDABLE TOOL. The cost of a PSG ($3-4) averages out to just $.04 a day per person. PSGs contain 13 Bible studies and cover a 90 day period of time. I challenge you to come up with anything else that is a quality piece produced by experts and delivered to your church for less than $.04 a day per person!
Now, one final thing. I realize that this could look incredibly self-serving since I work for a company that produces PSGs for Bible study groups! I get that. But please consider that for 18 years prior to coming to work at LifeWay, I was a strong advocate that every person in my church, plus every guest, receive a PSG. I was a fan of the PSG as as disciple-making tool long before I drew a paycheck from LifeWay!
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