Small groups, no matter the size, always seem to have two people: the one who won’t stop talking and the one who sits in silence. It’s easy to encourage the conversation monopolizer to give others time to share.
But how do I inspire someone to participate? Creating a sense of trust is one step. But if the problem is a lack of engagement with the study material, my role as small group leader just got much more difficult. Researching and preparing a study each week is difficult in itself; finding creative ways to keep everyone engaged can be overwhelming.
Overcoming small group challenges
With these challenges in mind, we created the Studies in Faithful Living Series: Complete Church Curriculum. The collection explores the lives of Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph, with lessons that show how their faith journeys are relevant to ours today. Each eight-week study gives me everything I need to make leading a small group both easier and more dynamic. If I were leading a small group today, here is how I would use this series:
- Weekly Lesson Plans—No longer would the burden fall on me to prepare, research, and organize lessons each week. The Studies in Faithful Living Series comes with weekly lesson plans that feature outlines and learning objectives to focus the group on the theme and concepts of each chapter.
- Prompts and Questions—Prompts in the leader’s guide would suggest when I should pause to explain a concept more thoroughly or ask someone to read a passage aloud. Discussion and application questions make it easy to engage everyone in a thoughtful, comfortable conversation.
- Slideshows and Videos—Media resources, like introductory chapter videos and slideshows, would bring the lesson off the page and into my living room. Using slides to prompt discussion questions helps keep people looking up—and speaking up—instead of staring at papers in their laps.
- Content and Roadmaps—Of course, without great content, none of these features would matter. These studies offer eight weeks of challenging, well-rounded study, including historical, cultural, and literary context. These materials explain how each story fits into the larger narrative of the Bible and how the patriarchs’ stories relate to our modern lives. And with reading lists and links to other materials, no leader is on their own if they want to explore certain issues in greater depth.
With the Studies in Faithful Living: Patriarchs Collection, a small group is set for the summer—and into the fall. I’m confident everyone in the group will find material to interest them as they walk through the life of Abraham. This champion of faith faced times of doubt and failure, just like we do, and we can learn from his weaknesses and God’s faithfulness.
With this curriculum, there will also be some great discussions for women, since so many of Abraham’s life lessons stem from his relationships with his wife and family. That matriarch’s life is also addressed in detail. The collection carries the story of God’s redemption of Israel through the lives of Jacob and Joseph.
If I were using this study today to lead a group, it would give me the comfort of knowing that I don’t have to devote so much time to research; instead, I could invest more time in prayer and encouraging relationships within the group—some of the most important responsibilities of a small group leader. The series would give me confidence that I could lead others in a deeply engaging discussion that would benefit their lives.
If your church or small group is looking for a dynamic, engaging curriculum for the summer, check out Studies in Faithful Living today.