People attending a sporting event for all kinds of reasons: to people watch, they enjoy overpriced hot dogs, to hear the band, to do the wave, to hang out with friends, to complete their bobblehead collection. Regardless of why they are there, ultimately there will be a game played and everyone there knows it. If they showed up and no game was played, even the most casual of attendees would be upset. It is the game that brings them together.
The same is true of your Bible study group. People are there for a variety of reasons. Some are there to see friends while others are there to be seen. No one is making them attend…unless they are on the church softball team. They chose to be there, knowing there will be Bible study. Whatever else happens is built off the Bible study. It is the Bible study that brings them together.
In the Explore the Bible Leader Guide, group time suggestions provide leaders ideas for involving the group in the Bible study process with Explore the Text as the centerpiece. By involving the group in the process, we help them gain or build their Bible study skills. Skills are not gained by watching, but by doing.
We know from our own experience (and research backs it up) that we remember best when we are involved in the learning process. If we as the leader function as the presenter and never the guide, we are cheating the members of our group by not letting them discover and think for themselves. If you don’t believe being actively involved is important, ask any sports fan what they would be willing to pay to play one minute for their favorite team. Being involved is invaluable.
Content and questions found in the Explore the Bible Personal Study Guide serve as the framework for the group time suggestions included. If the group leader needs to add to or stretch the discussion, additional questions are provided in the Leader Guide commentary (look for the questions with have no page number identifiers) and in QuickSource.
As leaders of a Bible study group, we have the opportunity and responsibility of helping others discover the truths of God’s Word for themselves. We do this by involving them in the exploration.
G. Dwayne McCrary is the team leader for the Adult and Young Adult Explore the Bible teams, leads a weekly Bible study group for his church, an adjunct professor at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and carries 20-plus years of church staff experience.