how to start a bible study group for beginners outside church

How To Start A Bible Study Group For Beginners

Have You Been Wanting To Lead A Small Group Bible Study?

Do you want to learn how to start your own bible study group outside the church in your home with youth in your neighborhood, church, homeschool group, friends in school or college?

Do you feel frustrated because you keep putting it off? Not sure where to start?

You want to do it, have done some research on how to start a bible study group, but just wish you had the courage to make it happen? I have good news for you: You can do this!

I became a Christian over 33 years ago and started reaching kids in our neighborhood with Bible lessons that I wrote. If I can overcome the fears of reaching others, then you can too!

What Does The Bible Say About Sharing Your Faith?

Faith is what you believe in. As a Christian, you believe in God. Faith is the confidence that God will do what he has promised. John 3:16 tells us that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”.

Sharing your faith is letting others know that you believe in Christ (Son) and God promises you everlasting life. Learning how to start your own bible study group is an excellent way to share your faith.

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear”  – 1 Peter 3:15

“And he said unto them, Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”  – Mark 16:15

What Does A Small Group Bible Study Leader Do?

As the group leader, you will find lessons, plan out the weekly meetings, choose where to meet, day to meet, and the best time of the day, invite guests and pray for your group, and create a safe and friendly environment for discussion.

  • Find lessons and plan out the weekly meetings.
  • Decide where to meet, what day of the week, and what time.
  • Make an invite list and send invitations
  • Pray for the group
  • Create a safe and friendly environment

Where To Find Lessons For Your Small Group Bible Study?

You can find bible study workbooks at your local Christian bookstore or shop online (affiliate link). Some people you invite may not want the added expense of purchasing a workbook so you will need to ask them before they commit to the group. Another option is to check with your church to see if they have extra lessons.

Do you need a resource to help people commit their lives to Christ? My short, easy-to-read and understand lesson on Salvation will teach them about sin, how Christ can be their Savior and how to pray for their salvation. This is an excellent lesson to do with them or print it out so they can take it home.

Download Free “Fruit of the Spirit” Lesson

Not sure if you will like my lessons? Download and print my free sample lesson on the Fruit of the Spirit. to see if you like the easy-to-read and understand format.

All of my lessons are designed the same way.

I  printed your free study and it was perfect. We had our bible study and the girls loved it. This is the first Bible study that I have ever directed… I was able to confidently bless these wonderful young princesses”  – S.G

Write Your Own Bible Study Lessons

Want to learn how to write your own lessons? I wrote a beginner’s guide that will teach you how to outline and write a bible study lesson in just 5 easy steps!

Bible Study Topics

You should choose lessons that are in the best interest of the people you plan to invite; teens, college students, adults, youth, etc. You don’t want to study the Proverbs 31 chapter with teen guys. A lesson on the whole book of Proverbs is a better choice.

You can write your own bible study lessons. Simply pick a topic, search verses on that topic, and make a list of questions you can ask during the study. Have someone in the group read the verses, ask them questions, and share any personal stories that may come up.

Sample Questions:

  • Who are the main characters?
  • Who wrote it? What is the author’s message?
  • Does anyone disagree/agree with what we just read?
  • Does anyone feel that these verses are talking to them?
  • What can we learn from this?
  • What is the verse trying to tell us?
  • Where does it take place? Has the name been changed? Can you find it on the map or bible dictionary?
  • How can we apply the lesson to our own lives?
  • Is there a commandment to obey? What will happen if we ignore it? Is there a promise from God to claim if we obey?

You can search online for additional resources and ideas for your topic. A bible concordance is a handy tool with an alphabetical list of biblical words and where to find them in the scriptures. Another great resource is biblegateway.com for searching words and verses.

Popular bible lesson topics:

Where Should Your Small Group Bible Study Meet?

You don’t need a huge house with a large spread of food to host a study. When I hosted a small group bible study with kids in our neighborhood, we simply gather around the coffee table in my living room. It was very comfortable and non-intimidating for them.

If your home isn’t an option, then you have many other choices to host your bible study group.

  • House
  • Apartment
  • Garage
  • Yard
  • Community center
  • Church
  • Library
  • Coffee shop
  • Park

What Day & Time Should Your Group Meet?

Decide on how many weeks for meetings. Most small groups meet between 4-8 weeks. A four-week lesson plan is perfect for hosting your first group. As you gain more confidence you may want to add more weeks.

Choose the dates for your study and consider if you need to work around a holiday. Choose a time of day that would be best for most people you plan to invite. Mornings for homeschoolers? Afternoon (after school) for teens? Nights for adults and teens who work?

Write out a schedule on how you want the time to flow. Example: first 15 minutes to greet each other, have a quick snack and write down any prayer requests, 1 hour for the lesson, and 15 minutes for closing pray and special prayer requests. Total of 1.5 hours. Bible study groups typically meet for 1-2 hours.

You will need to start and end on time so that the guests not only see you organized, but they may have plans after the study. Start on time even if some people are not there yet.

How To Make An Invite List

Decide who you want to invite; friends, people from your church, neighborhood, family, or homeschool group? Do you want to minister to pre-teens or teens? Don’t be afraid to invite someone you don’t know very well. If you feel the nudge to reach out to them then do it.

Start small with 5-6 invites. One or two may not say yes and you can always ask people who show up to invite someone they know.

  • Kids (9-12)
  • Teens (13+)
  • College-aged friends
  • Mother and daughters
  • A mix of youth and adults

How To Send Out Invitations?

The invitation should include the location, dates, time, phone number to respond to, where they can purchase a workbook (if needed), and what to bring with them to the study group. Try to send the invitations out at least two weeks from the first meeting date.

  • Call
  • Text
  • Facebook  (you can create a private Facebook group or event to send invites)
  • Messenger
  • Make a flyer to mail, email, or hand out

Send a second request to people who don’t respond within one week. Try to get them to give you a definite yes or no answer. Be humble by letting them know that if they can’t come to this group study that they can come to another one, no hard feelings.

One week before the first meeting, contact everyone to remind them where and when to meet. You may also want to do this on the morning of the meeting. Let them know you are looking forward to seeing them.

Opening And Closing Prayers

As the leader of the group, you should open and close in prayer unless someone else volunteers. There is no right or wrong way to pray and you can make the prayers short or long.

Example of a Simple Opening Prayer:

God,
Thank you for bringing us all together today.
Please help us learn and grow by studying your word.
Amen.

Example of a Simple Closing Prayer:

God,
We thank you for your word and for being with us today.
We humbly ask for your help in applying the truth we learned into our own lives.
Amen

Prayer Box Idea

A great idea is to make a prayer box and leave it by the snacks or where you will be having the study. Ask the group to write any special prayer requests down on paper and drop them into the box. Let them know that writing their name is optional.

You can pray over these special requests as a group at the end of the lesson or you can let them know you will pray for them over the week.

You can make your own simple prayer box from items you find around the house or at the Dollar Store. I found a nice prayer box online at ChristianBook.com (affiliate link). I have been ordering books and gifts from them since the early 1990s because of their low prices and excellent customer service.

Snacks Ideas For Small Group Bible Study

Some guests may be coming to the group on an empty stomach and giving them a snack with something to drink could make them more relaxed for the lesson. You don’t need to serve anything too fancy, quick finger foods with water, juice, coffee or tea would be great.

  • Animal Crackers (Noah’s Ark)
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Cookies
  • Fruit cups
  • Popcorn
  • Pretzels
  • Veggie sticks with spinach dip or hummus

Helpful Tips For Leading A Bible Study Group

You have now learned how to start a bible study group and are on your way to hosting your first group lesson! Everyone will have their own way of leading a bible study group so don’t feel you should be doing it a certain way. Your first group study will be the hardest. Keep notes on what went right, what went wrong, and anything else that will help plan and host your next study.

  • Ask for a helper or someone to co-lead with you.
  • Some guests may not own a bible or forget to bring one so you may want to have extra bibles available for them to borrow during the study. Check your local dollar store or thrift store.
  • Don’t forget extra pens or pencils and a sharpener.
  • Play Christian praise music as the group arrives to set a relaxing and uplifting environment.
  • Start the lesson on time, even if some people are late. Ending on time is also important because some guests may have plans after the lesson.
  • Write down your testimony to share with your group. Tell them what your life was before you accepted Christ as your savior, how you became a Christian, how your life is different now, why you started a bible study group and anything else you want to share.
  • Be humble, try to answer any questions they have and if you don’t know the answer, simply tell them that you will do research and get back to them. They won’t expect you to know everything in the bible.
  • Be flexible. Some people may not show up and others may come late. They may talk more (or less) depending on the topic of study or they may seem bored.
  • Remember, God is in charge – you can host the study and pray for the group but let God do his work (in his own time) with each guest.

Your Next Step Is To Start Planning!

Congratulations! Now that you learned how to start your own bible study group, you are now ready to begin planning! Please email me to let me know you are starting to plan your study and I will pray for you.

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