To some of us, bringing structure and organization to our Bible study small group is as exciting as cleaning out the garage on a hot summer day! It doesn’t motivate us the same way that sharing our vision or teaching the Bible does. But without organization, the work that we enjoy — leading our group, teaching the Bible, watching people mature in their relationship with Christ — won’t happen as effectively.
Organization helps us accomplish our purpose to reach, teach, and minister. What is the best way to organize the group to accomplish these three main things?
You really need just three people to start with. One to teach, one to lead in reaching out to others not involved in a group, and one person to be responsible for ministering to the members of the group. Many Bible study groups or classes are small and new groups don’t have a lot of members, yet both can still be effective with just three people.
As the group or class grows you can add more leaders. For example, as the group grows you will need to add additional care group leaders. You’ll also want to add someone to take ownership of coordinating food and fellowships and someone to help facilitate mission activities and prayer for the group.
In a small or new group/class one person may be responsible for each of these areas or have responsibility for more than one of these. For example, the fellowship leader may also be the prayer leader.
Bible study group leaders with a heart and passion for ministry sometimes try to do the entire work of the group themselves — from coordinating snacks for the group, and contacting all first-time attenders and members who are absent; to planning fellowships, mission activities, and sending out prayer requests — all in addition to studying and preparing to lead the group/class in an inductive, interactive Bible study learning experience. And most groups will let you do it!
Give your members the opportunity to get involved in the group. Encourage as many people as possible to take leadership in one area of ministry in and through the group. As the group grows you can form these ministry areas into teams with team leaders.
The hub anchoring all of this work can be the group or class administrator. See our Organization Wheel for more information. He or she enlists the team leaders and works through them to make sure the work and ministry of the group takes place.
Having a class or group administrator frees you up to concentrate on being prepared to lead the Bible study each week instead of worry about all the other aspects of the group. The team approach breaks down the various tasks each team is responsible for and spreads the work among several people.
Organization really does help you be effective in ministry through your group. And, it allows members to accept an ownership stake in the group, which leads them to higher levels of commitment and more consistent attendance. Here is a list of Position Descriptions for various group/class leader roles. However, because every group is different, you need to organize your class to meet the needs and mission of your specific group.
Organizing your group/class helps you accomplish the purpose of your group in a more efficient and effective way.
Alan Raughton serves as adult ministry specialist at Lifeway. For 19 years Alan has trained Christian Educators and Adult Ministry leaders around the country. He especially enjoys training and coaching Adult Bible study leaders and Adult Ministry professionals. A student of history, Alan enjoys reading biographies and books on historical events. He has been married to his college sweetheart, Ruth, since 1980. They are the parents two grown children.