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Leading an Evangelistic Bible Study

Discussion Questions about Seven Important Steps


Each step should involve prayer

1. Decide: Should I start such a group or not? What pros and cons are there?
1. Do I have natural contacts to non-Christians - or could I if I tried?
2. Do I want them to come to Christ and grow in him?
3. Is a small group Bible discussion a good way to accomplish these 2 goals?
4. Do I have the time or can I make the time to prepare studies and to follow people up between
meetings?
5. Do I perhaps know another Christian who can help me?

2. Invite people: who? how?


1. Invite people you already know, or with whom you have already talked about spiritual things.
2. Invite people with whom you have natural contact: in your classes, in your dormitory or apartment
house, in your club
3. Invite people you don't know yet, but who may be open or have specific needs or questions.
4. Invite people warmly, face to face; follow this up perhaps with a written invitation giving details.
5. Invite people generally, through a written or verbal announcement; following with personal
invitations e.g. door to door.
6. Don't be afraid to invite several times, to telephone to remind those who have expressed interest,
and to pick people up as appropriate.

3. Decide what you should/want to study, where, when and for how long:
1. The Gospel - passages that show real human problems and Jesus' answer to them; especially
dialogue and action narratives.
2. Use passages that answer basic questions about God, humility, Jesus Christ - or specific questions
that have been raised.
3. Meet in a neutral, relaxed atmosphere, in a place that is easy to reach : a private room, a dorm
lounge, a cafe
4. Advertise a specific length (e.g. 1 hour ) and stick to it - you can always talk further after the
meeting officially concludes.
5. Do a series of 3 - 4 studies that can be extended by those who wish, e.g. at the beginning of a
semester or before Christmas or Easter

4. Study the passage well


1. First for yourself (let God speak to you), and then for the others (what do they each need to hear
from it ?)
2. Ask What does it say? (Observe); Read before and after for context; discover main flow of action,
ideas.
3. Ask What does it mean? (Interpret); Ask and answer the question: What is the significance of these
statements, actions?
4. Ask What does it mean for me/us/them? (Apply): Is there a command to obey; a promise or truth to
be thankful for? a sin to avoid?
5. Synthesize the main points of the passage into its one central truth.

5. Prepare discussion questions.


1. How?
1. Write the central truth of the passage and the goal of the study at the top of your page.
2. Consider the specific needs, questions, situations of group members.
3. For good discussion flow consider Ada Lum's 4 groups of questions:
* The situation - Understand historical, cultural, and immediate context, and imagine yourself
being there
* People and their problems - Who has what problems here and why
* Jesus/God and his solution
* Response(s)
2. What are good/bad questions?
1. does it motivate the members to carefully look at the text and consider what the writer meant,
and what the original hearers understood?
2. does it encourage group discussion AND help members to respond personally to the message?
3. is it too easy? too complicated? does it limit discussion by requiring only a yes/no or other one
word answer?
3. Reread your questions through the eyes of a non-Christian. Test them on a friend for flow,
understand ability and appropriateness.

6. Lead the study


1. How can I keep it on track?
1. Explain at the beginning that the goal is to discover together the meaning of the text, and its
implications for today.
2. Be prepared to discuss truly urgent "side questions," but courteously postpone non-urgent
questions to a later discussion, so that the truth God has given in the present passage not be missed.
3. Even if you must skip some questions and summarize some points, get to the end of the
passage, so people will get to its main point and application and have a sense of completion.
4. Ask those who make side tracking or inaccurate comments where they see it in the passage, or
simply ask if anyone else has another perspective.
2. How can I keep it enjoyable?
1. Keep it relaxed; keep it moving.
2. Don't be afraid of silence; don't answer your own questions.
3. Use a translation in modern language (provide same one for all?); avoid using theological
jargon.
4. Plan in relationship building activities.

7. Do follow-up between meetings


1. How can I deepen relationships with individual members?
1. Do what you normally do (eat, study, shop), but invite others to do it with you
2. Get to know about their background, hobbies, family members, goals
3. Invite them to your (parents') home for a weekend or holiday.
2. How can I help them along spiritually?
1. Pray for their progress and for wisdom for yourself. Take them and their position seriously.
2. Be patient. Yet through questioning and encouraging, urge them to move as far along as God's
Spirit has prepared them
3. When you think they are ready, review with them the main points of the Gospel - including the
costs. Help them to entrust their lives to Jesus Christ in prayer and to take steps to grow in him.
4. 2 questions to help you and the other person know where they stand spiritually:
* "If you were to die tonight, what would happen to you?"
* "If you were to stand now before God, and He were to ask you 'why should I let you into
my heaven?,' what would you answer?"
5. 4 questions to help someone move forward to Christ:
* "Have you already personally entrusted your life to Christ, or are you still on the way?"
* (If they answer "I am still on the way" :) "That's interesting; how far along the way are
you?"
* "What do you understand a real Christian to be?"
* "Would you like to become a real Christian and to be sure of it?"

From 1995/96 IFES Teams Handbook


the Gospel can be explained quickly to a person from a Judeo-Christian background who already has a
basic understanding of such terms as "God" and "sin". This is not true with many internationals. It is wiser
to assume nothing and explain every term clearly. Use concrete language - word-pictures and stories - or
draw diagrams.

Be patient. Don't expect to explain everything at once. Repeat and review definitions and explanations
often, perhaps using different images or approaches each time.

When preparing the study, look for 1 or 2 main points which you want to get across. Also, look for
applications for Christians, should your group have mostly Christians.

Be creative in your approach. Role-play, have people write down their reactions to a certain word or divide
the group into pairs.

Always have an introduction which catches the interest of the group. It is best if the introduction is a
question which everyone can answer. If you elicit everyone's opinion on an initial question, shy persons
will be more likely to speak again, having spoken once. The question or introductory statement should have
a direct connection to the main point of the study.

Watch the eyes of group members for lack of understanding, desire to speak, etc. Arrangement in a circle
where everyone can see everyone else is helpful.

Use the Good News Bible, New International Readers Version or New Living Translation. Have a good
reader read the entire passage aloud and then allow time for a second, silent reading. Identify difficult
words and define them.

Review past studies and give necessary background at the beginning. Talk with co-leader if you were
absent.

Don't hesitate to include sharing about your Christian life or to ask another Christian in the group to do.

Begin praying and preparing early. Anticipate hard questions which may arise and seek help if you need to.
However, if you can't answer a question, see if someone else can or admit ignorance and promise to
research it for next week.

Handle tangents by recording them on a flip chart and discussing them after the meeting or in a future
study.

Conclude with one or two thought-provoking questions.