One of the key components of Explore the Bible: Young Adults is its discussion-friendly content design. And though the actual discussion is important, you might want to take some steps toward keeping your group on track for the purpose of encouraging biblical depth. Here are three things to remember when it comes to keeping your group focused.
1. Environment matters. Preparing a place for the study is an essential first step. Your group’s meeting place will, in some ways, determine the intimacy level that your group reaches. Your goal should be to make the room warm and inviting while removing as many distractions as possible, such as turning off phones and checking the room temperature. Put the chairs in a circle rather than a lecture setting. Bringing refreshments quickly warms up a room and encourages people to talk and interact with one another.
2. Plan time intentionally. Try to have relationship building or hangout time as a part of every (yes, every) study–maybe 15 to 20 minutes. This communicates a couple of things–that the relationships in the group matter and that the group exists to study the Bible and do life together. Then transition to the study, ideally giving 45 to 60 minutes for a great time of discussion and learning. Then move to prayer. This time should include both prayer requests and praying together.
3. Good questions are key. Realize that no curriculum is perfect for your group. You may need to skip over some questions, edit others, and create your own to make the study fit your group. Also, choose the right type of questions. These questions should include questions that engage or break the ice, which allow for you to be creative and engage different learning styles in natural, non-cheesy ways.
The next type of questions you should include are ones which help your group encounter God’s Word and each other through study. Two of the biggest things to avoid with these types of questions are close-ended questions and “check your brain at the door” questions. Closed questions are ones that can be answered with simply a yes or a no. Remember, you are leading a discussion, not just looking to get the right answers. “Check your brain at the door” questions ask for obvious answers and require zero thought. These questions don’t spur growth.
Finally, you’ll also need to ask questions that answer the “so what?” of the passage. Application questions can center on actions to take, examples to follow, or attitudes to adapt. The key is that these questions lead to action.
Within Explore the Bible: Young Adults, you’ll find questions that reflect all three styles–engaging, encountering, and expression. As your group reads the text, understands the context, and explores the text, they’ll be able to obey it in their own lives’ context. Even more, you’ll be able to keep your group on track and promote biblical depth.
Adapted from Context: Engaging the Young Adults of Your Community from Threads by Lifeway