I begin with this statement: I do not believe there is any substitute for one-on-one evangelism. Going into someone’s home or inviting them to your house and discovering answers is a proven Biblical formula for discipleship. As technology advances, this format may be the only way to reach some who spend countless hours online. So, although I intend to offer this site as a reference or a “How-To” on teaching Bible studies, some articles and the studies I will post can be used to send people who have questions or want to learn more about the Bible. As the information is not instantaneously interactive, there may be lost communication or distractions from the original thought, which is why I prefer to speak to individuals in person.
The following are guidelines that you may use to ensure that your Home Bible Study is a complete product. Most times, if I do not have a list or write things down, I will remember later and wish I had covered that item. There may be other areas that work well for you. This article is not an absolute list; it is only a reference to help get teachers comfortable with getting involved in the Harvest.
First, highlight sections from the study and try to cover only part of the lesson in one hour. Highlighting features will also keep you from speedreading to get through the material. I love the Word, and it is easy to get off topic and spend time on other subjects. If this is a new study, familiarize yourself with it and ensure it is doctrinally sound. Familiarization should be done well in advance and before the designated time.
Now, to find someone to teach! Many times, just asking if someone would like a Home Bible Study will result in the affirmative. People will say yes if they are not in a study; they must be asked. You can work out the when and where after receiving their positive response.
I know this was covered above, but you should always read the lesson you are about to teach before you go. I started on my tangents, only to realize that the information I was giving at that time is covered later in the lesson. Become familiar with the material and avoid getting ahead of yourself.
Make a quick text or phone call on the day of the study to confirm the time and location. It could be a short study at a coffee shop; it would not hurt to ensure the business is open on that day. Do the calling yourself, and do not burden your student. Having planned the event will also show how much you care.
We must pray for each lesson and the student. Pray ahead of time when you are by yourself. During the lesson, pray with students right before and immediately following the study. Remember to use a blessing tongue and bless the student, their family, and their home.
Many lessons come with student guides or worksheets; have these printed out beforehand. Some people may not have printers or ink. I also ensure to make many copies if you have more people show up than you had initially expected. You can always save the extra copies and use them in future studies. These worksheets will give students a focal point to follow along and stay on track.
Respecting the time of your student will usually be met with a return invitation. It is hard to keep a lesson under one hour, especially if there are questions or testimonies. The last two studies that I went through averaged around two hours. By the end of the two hours, I felt guilty for rambling for so long, and the students were ready to get into their next activity. I cringe, but you can break lessons into multiple sessions. My preference comes from numerous studies that don’t get past week six or seven. I want them to receive as much information as possible in our limited time together. Some people do not realize the commitment of a lesson that can last three months or more.
Ask students to hold questions until the end or write them down. When you are covering a topic, most will want an immediate answer, and that is fine. Students should have note-taking material, or they can use student guides. People rarely wait to ask a question until the very end. Let them ask, and do not harp on not asking; it is better to visit a subject and get the satisfaction of an answer than to run out of time at the end.
You need to ask each individual if they have a Bible. If they do not, provide them with a Bible. You can loan them one, but the expenditure is minimal, and it will be special coming from you. They can use their Bible to study throughout the week and look up the scripture covered in their lesson or service.
The very first, and maybe the second, lesson should not necessarily follow a lesson plan. These meetings may consist entirely of question-and-answer time. You can also plan this ahead of time and ask them to write down any questions they have or send you a list of questions to research before your meeting. Taking the time to answer questions up front may save time later and put your students at ease, knowing the answers they get are Bible answers.
A lot of the questions asked may be about platform standards. Leave these questions to your Pastor and church leadership. The answer may come during a midweek service. I encourage and try to convince students not to worry about those things. Some studies cover holiness and standards, but be careful of your audience. These lessons can be misinterpreted, no matter how delicately you handle the situation.
Get excited! There is nothing like the Word of God and hope that it provides to every person! Speak with expectation and describe why these things we read about bring such great anticipation. If you are bored with the topic, your students will pick up on that. Live it, love it, and deliver it with passion!
Part of ensuring that each person has their own Bible is to let them look up and read the verses in the lesson. This skill will give them some familiarity as to where these verses are and how to look them up. Be patient; as hard as it may be for you to comprehend, some people have never held a Bible. You may help direct them to the right book, but allow this time to build on their confidence in searching the scriptures.
If the study you are using has a chart, use it! Sometimes, you can teach right from the chart and then briefly reference the lesson to make sure you are covering the needed material. I download or save chart pictures and enlarge them on a television. This practice makes it easier for an entire group to follow along simultaneously. Newer televisions have USB ports or internet, making it easy to get to your files for presentation.
While you are at your study, say nice things about your Pastor and the church leadership. I assume you want your students to attend church with you, or they already attend. By instilling confidence in your Pastor, the personal relationship that you are developing will automatically transfer trust. This trust is crucial in larger congregations when the Pastor cannot physically greet everyone at each meeting. Trusting your shepherd is a spiritual discipline and will be essential for your students as they grow in Christ.
Should your local assembly host activities, encourage involvement. I have yet to prompt you on giving invites to services. That will come in time if they are not already coming. Many people will show up for a free barbeque and games when they will not come to a worship service. Encourage students to attend events and activities. Introduce them to other church members; they may have more in common with someone else and build on that relationship. The more people they know, the more they will show up and eventually get involved.
Promote daily routines that will strengthen their relationship with God. Praying and reading the Bible is at the top of the list. There are many ways to go from there. Practice kindness, encourage someone, and write down thoughts or questions as you ponder your time in prayer and study. These are simple steps, but they are needed every day and make a big difference in your journey.
The lesson is over, and you have mentioned the social taking place this weekend, so now what? Take a minute to look over everyone’s calendar and set up the next meeting. If you do not get a commitment now, your time slot may be used for something else next week. Your time and your student’s time is valuable with a lot going on. Expressing interest now will show your determination. I have had several Bible studies fall apart because something seemingly more important came up, making it easier to drift out of the study.
Finally, it would be a good idea to check in an extra day or two during the week. A text of encouragement or a call to see how they are doing will be happily received. I would limit this based on the knowledge of your relationship. Do not be annoyingly overbearing; just quickly check in.
This writing is a lot of information to take in and think about. I hope it will help with your future Home Bible Studies or encourage someone. We must deploy effective methods in the short time we have remaining. The call is now for laborers to impact souls right where you are. Over time and after a few lessons, these basic suggestions will come naturally to you. Do not let this list define you. Develop your style, add, and take away as necessary for you, as the teacher, and based on the needs of your student. The Word is forever settled, the fields are white already to harvest, and the reward is prepared for them that diligently seek Him. I bless you in your endeavors and rejoice in your efforts.