In my book Transformational Groups, which I co-wrote with Ed Stetzer, we share that research strongly indicates the people in your church who are in a group are more likely to serve more sacrificially, share the gospel more frequently, give more generously, and repent more regularly than those not in a group. For this reason, we say boldly that “your groups matter.” They matter a lot to the spiritual health of your church.
We shouldn’t just settle for groups. We should long for groups that are built on a solid foundation. A group is only as solid as the foundation that the group is built upon, and too many groups are built on a weak foundation. So we also say that what your groups study is absolutely critical to the health of those groups. Jesus prayed to the Father for His disciples, “Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth” (John 17:17), thus a group should help people encounter and dwell in the Word. The Word of God gives your groups the solid foundation it needs.
We have found that groups approach their Bible study time through three different “starting points” or “approaches.”
- LIFE: These groups want to see what the Bible has to say about a Christian’s everyday life: work, relationships, pressure, forgiveness, etc.
- TEXT: These groups want to study books of the Bible.
- THEOLOGY: These groups want to learn and interact with themes (or essential doctrines) in Scripture.
When thinking through starting points for your groups, consider these two important thoughts:
- All three of these approaches can be wise as long as they get people in the Word, bring them to Jesus, and challenge people to live out their faith.
- A group will be frustrated if what it is studying does not match the group’s preferred approach. For example: If a group wants to see what the Bible says about “real life issues,” they may feel other approaches aren’t practical enough. Or if a group wants to dive systematically into books of the Bible, the group may struggle with other approaches “being all over the place.” Picking the best starting point for your people is the first step toward a fruitful group experience.
Your groups matter and so does the content you provide to your groups.
To help groups have a solid foundation for study, we at Lifeway offer a Bible study series for each “starting point.” Each series is designed around a systematic plan to help mature people over time.
- For groups who prefer a study built around “life,” we offer Bible Studies for Life.
- For groups who prefer a study built around books of the Bible (the text), we offer Explore the Bible.
- For groups who prefer a study built around “theology,” we offer The Gospel Project.
Each series is offered in a 13-week format released four times a year OR a 6-session format with new studies releasing four times a year. To see what each series is currently offering in the 6-session formats, click here.