Why is everyone so quiet? Was that the air conditioner that just kicked on? Hearing silence as you wrap up a well-prepared lesson is possibly the worst feeling ever. You personally learned a lot, but you’re left to wonder if your small group members got as much out of it as you did.
How do we craft an engaging young adult Bible study that gets group members involved?
1. Create a discussion-focused environment.
Young adults thrive on engagement, so a Bible study that’s designed for interaction is key. One great way to do this is by asking discussion questions that’ll get your group members to talk. If the majority of your Bible study time is a lecture format, small changes can make a significant difference.
Follow-up questions, clarifying questions, and a respectful tone will lay the groundwork for rich Bible study weaved into a discussion-focused environment. As you prepare, allow time for some dialogue—and not just five minutes at the end. Build in time to ask questions and pause to dig deeper into a text. Young adults are still figuring out much of what it means to be a Christ-follower; a place where they can openly talk about and apply God’s Word is vital.
2. Connect outside of your small group time.
Almost nothing is more important to young adults than relationships. So, we shouldn’t be surprised at how valuable these are in our small groups. Make it your goal to regularly gather outside of your small group for the sole purpose of spending time together. Share a meal. Do something fun in your city. Serve somewhere together.
Time spent together outside of your small group time has a direct (and significant!) impact on the time spent within your small group time. Being intentional about building relationships will help your group members to see the body of Christ as God intends it to function: unified for His glory. Authentic connections forged in our small groups will pave the way for accountability and encourage spiritual growth. We were never meant to live out our faith disconnected from other believers. Real relationships that go beyond surface-level are key to an engaging young adult Bible study.
3. Be transparent.
As the leader, you will set the tone for your Bible study. If you’re glad you’re there, it shows. If you approach God’s Word as if it’s personal, relevant, and something to be treasured, that shows too. Your own personal time in God’s Word each day is important—and it will impact your ability to lead your group well. Since young adults will learn from you what it means to follow Christ in the “real world,” leading a small group is a privilege. Don’t think they won’t notice how you handle your family relationships, your work responsibilities, and your involvement in the life of your church. They will. Your transparency will likely teach more than you know or expect.
Studying the leader guide and soaking up God’s Word as you prepare are important, but don’t stop there. Make small changes that create a discussion-focused environment, be ready to connect outside of your group time, and remain transparent with your group members. With a little patience and practice, you may never have to sit in silence again!
Amber Vaden serves as the Content Editor for Bible Studies for Life: Young Adult. Before coming to Lifeway, she spent 12 years as a campus minister with Baptist Collegiate Ministry, where she led small group ministries on the university campus.