Small Group Bible Study
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Small Group Bible Study?
An intentional, regularly scheduled, intimate gathering of 6-12 adults, usually at one of the member's homes, for the purpose of praying for, studying with, and supporting one another in Christian discipleship.
How does it work?
Although the Reid Memorial Adult Ministries Committee suggests a format that has proven successful in the past as a way of getting started, the ultimate format will depend on what the group itself decides. A typical schedule for an hour-and-a-half meeting could be as follows:
- Gather (20 minutes): Enjoy fellowship over snacks. At the end, one of the members offers a prayer, and calls the group into focused study and discussion.
- Study (30 minutes): Read and discuss a short passage from Scripture.
- Share (20 minutes): Each member shares with the others the joys, concerns and struggles in their lives. Rejoice together. Confess one's struggles. Bear one another's burdens. Take interest in the other's interests. Pray for one another.
- Send (10 minutes): The leader, or someone else designated, ends the gathering with a prayer, encouraging and blessing the call of each to Christian service. The group helps the hosts clean up and then departs.
But the finished shape of a small group meeting is up to the group. 30 minutes is probably a minimum for Scripture component, but everything can be adapted to the group’s rhythm. The only necessity is that you decide on a schedule for your gatherings and be disciplined in sticking with it. The scheduled can be changed as needed, but not ignored without suffering a lack of focus.
What should the makeup of these groups be?
That’s up to you. Some people may prefer a same-sex requirement, others may decide to come together as couples. There are advantages to both, so whichever you prefer is fine.
How often do we meet?
That will be up to the group. Once a week is the ideal frequency, but you may decide as a group that this is too often or not often enough.
Can I invite non-Reid members to join our group?
Of course. In fact, our hope is that these groups would provide an opportunity for us to practice real hospitality in the sense of inviting new people to participate in our lives. Small groups are a good point of entry for new people looking for a church family.
How long shall we commit to this?
Some groups may stay together for life. Others may meet for a time and then move on. In any case, we suggest groups make a commitment to meet for 12 weeks in order to build the bonds of intimacy and trust necessary for a small group to be successful.
How do we get started?
You have the option of either choosing your group yourself or Adult Ministries can help you recruit a group among interested members. One of the members will be designated to serve, at least provisionally, as the group leader to help get started. After that, the leadership of the group is up to the group. Adult Ministries will provide each participant with a copy of Stan Ott's booklet "Small Group Life: A Guide for Members and Leaders” as a resource for determining the ultimate structure of your group. The leadership of the church will offer a prayer of blessing on each group as it forms. We will hold as a church regular (quarterly) gatherings of leaders and interested members to discuss the dynamics of the group and share inspirations as to how to help these groups work better.
What are the duties of the leader?
The leader acts as a facilitator, to keep the group on task and on schedule. The leader is not there to teach! The Bible study will really be a conversation aimed at common discovery of what God's word is teaching. Discovering the meaning of the reading for oneself creates a stronger, more meaningful foundation for Christian life. Others can assist in this discovery but cannot substitute for it. Leadership can also be rotated.
Any more questions?
Contact any member of the Adult Ministries Committee. You can also call either Woody Belangia (707) 726-3003 (day) or (706) 868-9195 (night) or Barry Jenkins and we’ll do our best to answer you questiuons.
In the meantime... Begin the process of praying for this endeavor and recruiting a group of people who are willing to commit to the vision. We will have a kickoff gathering on Wednesday evening, October 25th at 6:30 pm, immediately after the evening meal, to equip you to begin this exciting and potentially life-changing and faith-deepening opportunity.
Yes, I am interested in participating or learning more about these small group Bible studies.