11 Ways to Encourage People to Use Their Personal Study Guide

Richard Edfeldt, LifeWay Church Partner

Today’s blog post is a “part 2” of the one from yesterday, July 26, 2017. In yesterday’s post, Richard Edfeldt helped us understand why Personal Study Guides are essential in the development and spiritual growth of disciples.

Today, Richard wraps up those thoughts with 11 ways you and I can encourage people to use the Personal Study Guide before, during, and after a Bible study:

  1. Ask a group member to be prepared to share a summation of a section of the study material.

  2. Email/Message/Facebook group members about their response to a particular quote on a page.

  3. Break the group into smaller groups to compare responses to an assigned part of the study.

  4. Encourage use of the application questions in small groups during the group Bible study.

  5. Encourage recording prayer requests in Personal Study Guide margins.

  6. If you are the group leader, refer to some of the study questions throughout your Bible study.

  7. Ask a member to be prepared to present a report on a doctrine, person, or event that is in the Personal Study Guide.

  8. Tweet a quote (with page number) from the Personal Study Guide to your group members to encourage them to look it up and consider its meaning in light of the rest of the Bible study.

  9. Encourage group members to frequent the blogs on the curriculum’s website for additional insights and information about each week’s Bible study.

  10. Remind the group members of their responsibility in the discipling process – and how daily reading and interaction with their Personal Study Guide can help accelerate that process.

  11. Have group members create accountability partners who will check on each other’s personal preparation for the upcoming Bible study through phone calls, social media, and email.

I want to say thanks to Richard and his fellow Church Partners who so diligently serve the local church with their knowledge, time, and experience. They are truly making a difference on “the front lines.” I hope you’ve enjoyed reading Richard’s thoughts about Personal Study Guides, their importance in the disciple-making process, and how you can encourage their use by group members.

_________________

If you are not following this blog, you may be the only person on the planet who hasn’t subscribed yet. Click here to jump to kenbraddy.com and sign up using just your email address. It’s never sold or given out, and you can unsubscribe at any time – but if you do, there’s a good chance a guy name “Bugsy” or “Machine Gun” might want to have a conversation with you…

Advertisements

6 Reasons why a Personal Study Guide Enhances People’s Spiritual Growth

Today’s blog post is practically a guest blog post by my friend and colleague, Richard Edfeldt. Richard is one of LifeWay’s Church Partners, a group of dedicated professionals who visit many churches each week. In the course of a Church Partner’s week, he will keep a pulse on trends, recommend curriculum, provide impromptu counseling on education and other church-related matters, and provide training when needed. Richard and his fellow Church Partners are terrific experts, and invaluable to the churches to whom they relate.

Richard Edfeldt, LifeWay Church Partner

Richard compiled a document that pulls together a number of reasons why church leaders and group leaders should consider the value of Personal Study Guides (PSGs). Perhaps you know these as “Sunday School Quarterlies” or some other term. It’s the small book full of 13 Bible studies that most churches provide for their members and guests. When I saw Richard’s document, I asked permission to post it here on the blog. Without further ado, here are some reasons why PSGs are a valuable tool to help people grow as disciples, straight from Richard and the helpful document he compiled:

The largest research project ever conducted on effective discipleship practices revealed that healthy churches teach people to connect to God’s Word, both on an individual basis as well as in community. But that connection doesn’t just happen.  It requires an intentional plan and provision of resources.  It also requires a consistency of purpose.  Finally, it requires time in God’s Word.

So how can you help your members learn to connect to God’s Word?

By training them to use a Personal Study Guide!

Why Personal Study Guides are important to a person’s discipleship development:

  1. THEY REMOVE BARRIERS. When you hand someone a Personal Study Guide, you remove his/her biggest obstacle in connecting with the Bible – confidence.  Essentially, you equip long term members to become active participants and you tell guests, “We want you back. You belong here.

  2. THEY ARE A DISCIPLESHIP TOOL. Learning to connect to God’s Word doesn’t happen overnight. It takes intentionality and commitment. The Personal Study Guide provides guidance and commentary to help an individual understand what they’re reading in a format that is easy to follow. It also helps them develop a daily time in the Word and with God.

  3. THEY INCREASE A PERSON’S EXPOSURE TO THE WORD. Exposure to God’s Word transforms a disciple’s life.  Giving someone a Personal Study Guide communicates that personal Bible reading and study is essential for spiritual growth and it provides them with a practical guide to approach their person Bible study time.

  4. THEY CAN ADD TO DEEPER DISCUSSION.  The Personal Study Guide exposes an individual to questions that promote understanding and application throughout the week. Giving an individual time to digest the Scripture on their own helps lead them to deeper discussion when the group meets weekly.

  5. THEY CREATE A STRONGER COMMUNITY CONNECTION. Through repeated exposure to the Word and to deeper group discussion, Personal Study Guide also helps deepen the investment an individual makes to their group and to their church. As a result, the people in your groups become some of your most engaged church members.

  6. THEY DEVELOP LEADERS.  Every group has people who are already well equipped to lead, but may not believe it yet.  These guides demystify the process of preparing and leading the group conversation, giving the group member the confidence they need to take the next step toward becoming a group leader.

The PSGs that LifeWay produces, for example, cost approximately $2.75 each for 13 Bible studies. The PSGs are printed on high-quality paper, and in 4-colors so that the brilliance of some photos really shines through. At this price, a church can provide an individual with a PSG for just $.03 per day! There is no greater investment that a church could make than to provide its members and guests with Personal Study Guides.

Tomorrow’s post is also going to come straight from Richard’s document – this time he will show us 11 ways to encourage people to use Personal Study Guides in their quest to be fully devoted followers of Christ.

_______________________

Follow this blog by clicking here to jump to kenbraddy.com. All you need is an email address, which is never sold or given out. You can unsubscribe, too, at any time – but I might show up at your doorstep.

The Value of Personal Study Guides

Today’s blog post is an excerpt taken from the book One Hundred by David Francis and Michael Kelley. It’s a book that is intended to help the smaller church move past the 100 barrier and reach new people.

In this brief excerpt, Francis and Kelley help us understand the value of providing printed curriculum for group members. An unfortunate trend today is that churches are decreasing or eliminating this valuable tool from their teacher’s toolboxes. I wish it wasn’t so, and not just because I work for a company that produces Personal Study Guides! I’m a group leader like many of you, and I’ve seen the value of Personal Study Guides in my adult Bible study group. We use them weekly to guide our study time. Here is what the two authors have to say:

It’s a good and right thing to expect members to come prepared for the class session. That’s one advantage of providing inexpensive printed curriculum materials…Along with your invitation (for guests to come back)  you can provide a copy of the study material you are using. If you are using what we call “ongoing” material at LifeWay, you can say something like, “Here’s a booklet with the topics and Scriptures we’re studying in our class right now. Before you come, you might want to take a few minutes to find the study for that weekend in the book, and read ahead. …By that simple act, you’ve removed the number one barrier for adults: thinking they know too little about the Bible to participate. (pp.24-25)

Personal Study Guides cost about $2.50 each, which boils down to a whopping $.19 a week (they contain 13 Bible studies). For less than a quarter a week, you can put God’s Word into the hands of members and guests, and you will have a more robust Bible study when everyone has had the chance to read ahead and study on their own.

Another advantage to using ongoing curriculum is that you don’t have to stress out about what your group is going to study every 4 to 8 weeks! The scope and sequence is predetermined by teams of experts who carefully craft the materials and choose topics and passages to be studied. It relieves me of that responsibility as a group leader, and it frees up my time to focus on meeting the needs of my group members as a teacher-shepherd.

_________________

If you are not following this blog, why not sign up and begin getting daily posts delivered right to your inbox? Go to kenbraddy.com and sign up in just a few seconds. You can unsubscribe at any time, but I bet you won’ want to!