I’ve been involved with small group studies for almost 25 years. They have included church bible studies, Toastmaster groups, and sales organizations. Small groups are a great way to share information and study together. The key to a successful small group is to have from 6 to 16 people and have a comfortable location to get together. If have many more than 16 people the group becomes too large to share effectively. The collective wisdom of a group this size is amazing.
One of the techniques I’ve found for leading a small group is to be a facilitator instead of a lecturer. This facilitator organizes the meeting and applies a loose structure. A good facilitator will try to get everyone involved in the conversation and control the interaction to keep anyone from dominating the entire discussion.
In church and other study groups a great technique to get things going is to have someone read a scripture or reflect on a quotation. You broaden the verse with a little explanation or practical observation. Then you ask the group a question based on the verse.
This simple three step process can generate lots of conversation with just one question. It makes it real easy to facilitate as you just sit back and listen to others. Your main job is to keep the discussion under control and draw people back in and move on to the next point.
The three points can be distilled as
1. Read the scripture or Verse
2. Expand the subject with an example or observation
3. Ask an open ended question
I’ve put together some easy to use study cards that make this process easy. You add your verses or quotations to the front of the cards and put the expansion and questions on the back. Pass these study cards out to different members at the start of the meeting and take them one by one. The great thing about these cards is the font size. You can make the verse easy to read for those people that may have trouble reading the smaller print in a bible or book.
Take one card at a time and have the person read the verse and then turn it over and have them read the example and have them ask the question. The discussion will take off from there. Many times the discussion will really take off and may last 5, 10 or even 15 minutes on a single question.
I’ve put together a front and back page Microsoft Word based template that you print out on blank Avery Business cards. You put the verses on the front, and add the example and question on the back. Just print the front first and then turn the sheet over and print the back side. Within minutes you’ll have a complete study ready to go. Break the 10 cards apart and take them along to your next group meeting.
I’ve included an example bible study in the book of Proverbs as a quick way to show you how effective these can be.
The front card has a scripture verse
The study card includes the chapter and verse as reference, and includes the verse in a large serif font to make it easy to read.
The back of the card has thoughtful information and an open ended question.
There are 10 study cards in this selection that can be used to generate a rousing discussion that will go at least an hour.
As you can see these questions are not always easy to answer and people will have many different viewpoints to go along with them. These cards make great bookmarks to mark the reference verse for further study.
Study Card Instructions:
1. Download the Study Cards zip file to your computer.
2. Unzip the file and open the templates in Microsoft Word.
3. Put a sheet of plain white Avery Business Card stock in your printer.
4. Print out the front of the cards first with template 1.
5. Turn the business card sheet over and print the back side with template 2.
6. Break them apart
7. Take them along to your next study or small group…