Bible Study Reviews and Ideas

In this post I want to hit some highlights about recent Bible Studies I’ve done with my small group as well as some ideas that might be helpful in your own group. First I’ll share about the ones we’ve done the last few months.

Messy Beautiful Friendship by Christine Hoover 

This was a book our small group read for the Summer and discussed 5-7 chapters at a time. It was a deeper read than we were expecting so don’t think “light Summer read” but it was so very good. It opened our eyes to what true Biblical friendship means and requires. Such a gift of a book for our group. It helped us grow and is still helping shape our group. Study questions are in the back of the book and can serve as a great Bible Study or Book Club option. I’d suggest taking smaller amounts of chapters to discuss.

Live Full, Walk Free by Cindy Bultema 

We did this six week study on I Corinthians and it was really insightful and fun. Cindy is a friend of mine and her heart is so genuine. A woman who struggled with addiction and almost lost her life to it but God……did an amazing work in her and redeemed her in miraculous ways. Her passion to speak Truth and memorize God’s word was a special part of this study as we memorized and quoted verses together every week.

Missing Pieces by Jennifer Rothschild

Oh wow, this 7 week study by Jennifer was great. Probably my favorite teaching on when God doesn’t bring healing and why he allows suffering. This is a fantastic study. For those who don’t know about Jennifer – she is blind and she is an amazing piano player, singer and Bible teacher. I played one session of this for my family and I don’t usually do that. Our son is hearing impaired and I wanted him to hear her talk on this topic. Such rich biblical truths she brings.

All things New by Kelly Minter – I wanted to just skip talking about this in this space because I love Kelly’s heart for God and I’ve done other studies by her that I really enjoyed but for some reason this particular study on II Corinthians just didn’t strike a chord. I made the mistake of doing a study I had not fully previewed and well we ended up stopping the study after two weeks. I felt really bad for putting our group through this and it fell on me as the leader because I didn’t do my part in previewing the study. They were super gracious and agreed to move on to something else.

New things we’re incorporating in our group:

An outreach or in reach project at the end of each study. In efforts to stay outward faced and  loving others well together as a group we decided to pray about doing something special at the end of each study. And this has been a neat highlight for our group these past few studies. One time we put together a care package for a teenage girl who had heart surgery. We all pitched in and bought items and prayed over the items and then put the basket together and sent it off through one of our small group members. Another time we wrote notes and prayed over a teacher at our school. This last time we rallied around two of our own members who just sent off sons to boot camp. We pitched in and surprised them with an ALEX and ANI bracelet for the branch their sons are serving in. We have prayed for these boys from day one of choosing to go into the military and God has really grown our group through this up and down road of sending off their boys. We start praying a few weeks before the end of our study about what our next project can be. It’s been a beautiful thing to be a part of.

Mix up the meeting place. For one whole study we met at homes and different places in town for dinner and discussion. We typically meet at our church for our regular small group time but mixing it up was a nice change of venue and can help with any ruts that seem to form.

Group Prayer. This has been a hard but good part of our study. Hard because not everyone is comfortable with praying aloud. Good because there is nothing that brings people closer together than prayer. There’s a bonding that takes place when we pray for each other. We’ve used text threads as a prayer tool in times of urgent requests. We respect each other’s time and try not to do this a lot but we know we can ask for prayer and receive it outside of our scheduled time together on short notice.

Deep Study. Lighter Study. I think it’s important to offer a mixture of studies in efforts to reach everyone in your group. A steady diet of deep in-depth study is going to leave some feeling left in the dust and overwhelmed. I try to make a practice of doing a lighter type study and then a deeper study if possible. It also gives a breather for those barely hanging on.

** The thing I’m really struggling with is the idea of a closed group as well as multiplying at some point. I know these are important factors I’m just not sure how to incorporate them fully. We have a core group that has stayed the same for almost two years and then we have a few people float in at the start of a new study. This does change the dynamic some because just when you start to trust your group then you start over when new people come. But you want new people to have a chance to join in if they want to. We aren’t a really large church so it’s not like we have tons of groups to choose from. We have several different groups meeting throughout the week but only one women’s group on Wednesday night. I’m praying about this more and our group is starting this conversation and seeking what God would have for us.

Our current study is The Quest by Beth Moore.

This six week study is so different from her others and we are excited about diving in this week to start this study. We are downloading the teaching sessions from Lifeway – yeah, did you know you can do that? It’s awesome. For $5.99 a session you can rent the study for 6 months. This study combines a lot of prayer and journaling which I absolutely love. I’ve only done one week’s worth of homework and haven’t viewed any of the sessions (broken cardinal rule #1 – always preview your studies) because of the download situation being on a different computer and not wanting to pay twice for it. I’m hoping for the best and not a repeat offense in the previous situation mentioned. So I’ll come back and let you know what we thought about The Quest.

So what about you? What do you love about your small group? Would love to hear.