What’s the Big Idea??

Monday’s blog posts come from books on teaching, Christian education, leadership, and Bible study. The one I’ve chosen to quote from today was written by a friend and former colleague of mine, Sam O’ Neal. I consider Sam to be an expert in small group dynamics, and the quote below comes from his book, Field Guide for Small Group Leaders. Here is what Sam had to say about having one big idea you drive home during your Bible study:

“…Having a ‘big idea’ will also provide an educational benefit for your small group meetings. That’s because everyone attending those meetings….will be a human being. And human beings are controlled by human brains. And most human brains have a hard time processing and retaining a large amount of information in a small amount of time…Here’s the reality: people forget the majority of what they hear from their pastor during each week’s sermon. And they forget the majority of what they hear and discuss during your small group meetings. This happens because those events are usually packed with more information than you or I can reasonably process and retain over time…What you can do is structure each group meeting so that your people are confronted with one vital principle over and over, which gives them more opportunities to engage and interact with that principle…And that is why you need a ‘big idea.'” (pp. 81-83)

Having taught a Bible study group for the past six years, I can attest to the benefit of what Sam is recommending. I chose to use LifeWay’s Bible Studies for Life series in my group because it is specially designed so that each session has one big idea, which is called The Point. There is one main truth that is the focus of each week’s study, rather than multiple truths.


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