More than a Bible Study

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Studying Scripture with other believers is one of the great joys and benefits of being part of the body of Christ. However, if your small group is just a time of Bible study, you are missing out on the type of community God desires for you. Does being in a small group really change anything or is it just something to do? This funny illustration challenges small groups to use their combined time and talent to make a difference.



Nobody really wants a shallow small group. Bianca Olthoff speaks from her own experience leading a group with her husband, giving insight into how to foster depth in your small group. Bianca is a pastor's wife and A21 Campaign Storyteller. She writes frequently at her blog and is a sought-after speaker.



Bianca explained that when she and her husband were first starting their small group, she wished someone had told them, "it's OK to figure your way through."

If you've been leading your group for a while, what did you have to figure your way through? What has been the most challenging part about leading your group? Who are you able to go to for counsel when you have questions/concerns about your group?
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If you are just starting your group, what are your expectations for the group? What are you most excited about? Most nervous about? Who can you go to when you have questions/concerns regarding your group?
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Small groups take on many forms, but to foster genuine community, they must move beyond merely a time of Bible study.

Do the people in your group know your story—how the Lord has brought you to the place where you are now? Do you know their stories? If so, how has knowing one another's stories fostered deeper relationships among group members?
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Bianca shared that their group had established rhythms for prayer and service times as a group. Within a 6–10 week period they have a group gathering dedicated to prayer, and another gathering dedicated to serving the community as a group.

Why do you think extended times of prayer as a group are important? What have you seen God do in the lives of your people through prayer? Is prayer a regular part of your group's rhythm?
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What unique opportunities does serving alongside someone provide that just don't happen anywhere else? What are you currently doing to serve as a group? How can you use some of the passions of your group members to meet felt needs in your community?
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As a group leader, you set the tone for the depth of community you achieve. Things will remain surface-level without intentionality and transparency on your part. Will there be things that come up which are difficult, things you don't necessarily know how to navigate? Absolutely. Trust that the Lord will give you wisdom, and trust the wisdom that pastors and other leaders are able to give you. Move beyond simply being a Bible study, and ask the Lord to foster a deep sense of community in your group.