You might not be familiar with the term “ongoing Bible studies.” That’s O.K. That’s why I’m here.
An ongoing Bible study group is one that typically meets once a week throughout the year. This kind of group is different from short-term groups that meet for a set number of weeks, then disband.
There is great value in providing Bible study groups with ongoing studies. Here are just three of the better reasons for making this kind of investment in people and groups:
- The #2 reason people leave groups is because they end. Lifeway Research has discovered that a primary reason people leave a group is not because of the group leader, because friends leave, or because of the studies themselves. People leave groups because groups end! 36% of group members stopped attending when the Bible study ended. The only other reason that exceeds this one is because of a life change (schedule change, relocation, etc). It is not easy to get people to come back every time a group ends – it gives them a chance to exit the group and make other choices about how they want to use their time. The best thing you can do for your church’s groups is to make certain they do not start and stop throughout the year. Your primary Bible study ministry will retain more people if the groups meet weekly.
- Ongoing groups and their ongoing studies fit today’s busy, sporadic attenders. It has been widely documented that people attend groups less today than they did a decade ago. Attendance has generally declined because attendance has become more unpredictable and sporadic. Ongoing studies (specifically the Personal Study Guides that are used to study the Bible) help busy people keep up with the group when they are not there physically. A person could miss their Bible study group’s meeting one week, but stay up to speed by reading and studying the session on their own. When they return to the group, they haven’t missed a beat in terms of what the group has studied.
- Ongoing groups make it easier to communicate options to members and guests. If your church’s primary Bible study groups start and stop throughout the year, imagine how difficult it will be to communicate options to members and guests who want to connect to a group! Communicating options can be difficult enough, but someone will have to accept responsibility for tracking all groups and when they start and stop so that can also be communicated to potential group members.
I could add a few more reasons why ongoing groups will benefit your church, but hopefully the three points above will point you in the right direction! To see some great study options for ongoing groups, click here to go to my company’s landing page for quick overviews of ongoing studies!